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FAQs

My sharps container did not come with a return shipping box or prepaid label. Can I get these supplies from Safe Needle Disposal?

Safe Needle Disposal does not provide shipping boxes or prepaid labels to return sharps containers. We are an information resource for home-generated sharps disposal and community-sponsored sharps disposal locations. You will need to follow your state guidelines for disposing your container or bring your container to a disposal location, if available in your area. Visit our website for state disposal information here.

Does Safe Needle Disposal pick up sharps containers?

Safe Needle Disposal does not pick up sharps containers. We are an information resource for home-generated sharps disposal and community-sponsored sharps disposal locations. If you are disabled, homebound or have a medical condition that prevents you from going to a disposal site, contact your local health department and ask for information on medical waste disposal companies that provide pickup services. Visit our state information page to find out if your container may be disposed of in the regular trash in your area.

Does Safe Needle Disposal provide sharps containers?

Safe Needle Disposal does not provide sharps containers. We are an information resource for home-generated sharps disposal and community-sponsored sharps disposal locations. Sharps containers are available for purchase at retail pharmacies and medical supply stores.

Please note that sharps containers are typically not allowed in the household garbage because they are marked BIOHAZARD. If there are no disposal locations in your area, state guidelines recommend patients place their used sharps in a sturdy, puncture-resistant plastic container with a screw top lid, such as an empty bleach or laundry detergent bottle. Please review your state guidelines here.

How do I dispose a sharps container from my business, healthcare facility or pharmacy?

Businesses, healthcare facilities and pharmacies typically fall under regulated medical waste disposal laws. The specifics can vary by state but these facilities are often required by law to contract with a medical waste disposal company to dispose sharps.

Because we only list community sharps disposal locations for private households, Safe Needle Disposal recommends contacting your state waste agency for more information and referrals to medical waste disposal companies. Please call our helpline at 800-643-1643 if you need further assistance.


Will my pharmacy take my full sharps container?

Unless otherwise mandated, retail and mail-order pharmacies do not take back full sharps containers for disposal. These facilities are required by state law to pay for their medical waste disposal and usually cannot take containers from the public.

Some retail pharmacies provide sharps disposal mail-back kits, which include a sharps container, return shipping box and prepaid mailing label. Ask your pharmacist if this service is available.

Will my doctor or local hospital take my full sharps container?

Unless otherwise mandated, healthcare facilities and fire stations typically cannot take full sharps containers for disposal. These facilities are required by state law to pay for their own medical waste disposal and usually do not have the resources to take containers from the public. Visit our state information page to find disposal information for your area.

If there are no disposal programs in your area, it might be worth a try asking a healthcare facility to dispose of your container. Sometimes they will dispose a small amount of sharps or be willing to charge a fee for a one-time only disposal. But it is ultimately determined by the individual facility.

Do Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facilities and collection events accept sharps for safe disposal?

Some areas have HHW facilities and collection events that accept home-generated medical sharps. Check with your city or county solid waste department to find out if these facilities or collection events are available in your area and inquire if they accept sharps. We also list many of these programs on our website. Visit our state search page for known programs in your area.

I found a disposal location in my area from doing a zip code search but it is a Container Exchange Program. How does this type of program work?

A Container Exchange Program involves going to a facility to obtain an approved sharps container and in some cases, sign up for the disposal program. You bring your container to your home and deposit your used sharps into the container. When the container is full, you return to it to the facility and it will be exchanged for a new container. In most cases, you must use the container the program provides. They will not accept other sharps containers or household containers. Call the facility to confirm their requirements.

What is a Sharps Mail-Back Disposal Program?

Mail-Back programs provide sharps disposal kits, which include a sharps container, return shipping box and prepaid label. Retail pharmacies, medical supply stores and waste haulers provide these kits for purchase. Some pharmaceutical companies provide mail-back programs for injectable medications. A list of these programs is available by clicking here.

Please note that the return shipping box and prepaid label is for the specific size and weight of the sharps container provided. You cannot send other containers or request different sized return boxes. Furthermore, to use the pharmaceutical mail-back programs, you must have a valid prescription and be actively using the medication.

I have a diabetic pet that requires insulin injections. How to do I dispose of the needles?

State guidelines for home-generated sharps disposal are also applicable for pets that require medication by injection. Visit our state search page to find disposal information for your area.

Do Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facilities and collection events accept sharps for safe disposal?

Some areas have HHW facilities and collection events that accept home-generated medical sharps. Check with your city or county solid waste department to find out if these facilities or collection events are available in your area and inquire if they accept sharps. We also list many of these programs on our website. Visit our state search page for known programs in your area.

How do I dispose unused sharps?

If your unused sharps are still in their original packaging, haven’t expired and do not require refrigeration, the World Medical Relief may accept them. Call 313-866-5333 or visit www.worldmedicalrelief.org for information about donating medication and medical supplies.

However, if you have sharps that have expired or require refrigeration, you will need to dispose of them as if they were used. Please call our helpline at 800-643-1643 or visit our website for state disposal information click here.

I use a needle clipper to safely store my used sharps. Can the remaining syringe be disposed of in the household trash?

A used syringe has been needle-clipped may be disposed of in your regular trash. As an added precaution, it is recommended that the syringe be placed in a household container, preferably a sturdy, plastic container with a secure lid, such as an empty laundry detergent or bleach bottle. Be sure to label the container DO NOT RECYCLE before placing it in your trash.

My state does not have any community drop-off locations for sharps and I have concerns with disposing my container in the household garbage. Who can I contact and inform that there is a need for a safe disposal program in my area?

We recommend contacting at least one or more of the following: your city or county health department, state legislators and the agency in your state that regulates hazardous and medical waste. Visit our state search page for your state waste agency contact information by clicking on your state on the map or alphabetical name listing. The information is in the gray box on the left, under “Governing Organization Name.”

I would like to start a community sharps disposal program at my facility. Does Safe Needle Disposal help with this?

Safe Needle Disposal cannot register or license sharps collection programs. You will need to contact your city or county health department. State waste agencies may also be able to provide information on the requirements for your area. Visit our state search page

for your state waste agency contact information by clicking on your state on the map or alphabetical name listing. The information is in the gray box on the left, under “Governing Organization Name.”

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