Needle, Syringe & Sharps Disposal

This web page contains used sharps home disposal guidelines to help protect your family, waste handlers and the environment.

About Sharps

"Sharps" are needles, syringes with attached needles, and disposable lancets. Although it is legal to place household needles and sharps containers into residential trash, this is not the safest option for our community. 

In a Trash Bag

Inside a trash can or bag, the loose or containerized sharps can injure family members and waste collectors or inappropriately fall into the hands of children or people with substance abuse problems.

In the Truck

Once in the garbage truck, sharps containers are likely to break open from the pressure of the trash compactors. Many workers run the risk of sharps contact from trash on sorting floors, in recycling lines and in landfill operations. The best solution to reducing risks from sharps is to take them to sharps collection centers!

Disposal Sites

View the locations participating with the Michigan Medical Waste Regulatory Program to accept contained used residential sharps.

  1. Disposal Guidelines
  2. Mail-In Programs
  3. Sharps Pointers

Sharps Disposal Guidelines

  • Step 1: Purchase a sharps container from a pharmacy when you buy new sharps. Sharps containers cost a few dollars and hold anywhere from 30 to 300 used sharps, depending on the container size you select. These containers are puncture-resistant with a special opening to accept sharps.
  • Step 2: Perform your routine blood tests and injections and place the used sharps into the sharps container. Seal, then tape the container shut when it is full.
  • Step 3: Take the filled sharps container to a location on the list below, such as participating pharmacies, clinics, or the Home Toxics Collection Center. Give the filled, sealed sharps container to the pharmacist or staff member. Please do not leave the sharps case unattended. Sharps collected through these programs will be properly disposed in compliance with all medical waste regulations.

Sharps Disposal Dos

  • Do store sharps containers in areas that are child and animal proof.
  • Do label sharps containers, "SHARPS, Dispose of Properly."
  • Do secure the top of a full sharps container and seal with sturdy tape.
  • Do return full sharps containers to participating pharmacies for proper disposal.
  • Do handle sharps used away from home in a responsible manner as well.

Sharps Disposal Don'ts

  • Don't place loose sharps into the trash.
  • Don't break, bend, clip, recap or reuse needles.
  • Don't place sharps in aluminum cans, coffee cans, glass jars or clear plastic containers. These containers break too easily.
  • Don't place sharps containers in recycling bins.
  • Don't flush sharps down the toilet.

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