How to Dispose of Hypodermic Needles

Updated April 17, 2017

Hypodermic needles are used with syringes to inject medicine into the body or remove fluids, such as bloods, from the body. They are used in hospitals, but are also used in the home when a patient is receiving at-home care or has diabetes and needs to inject insulin. It is important to be safe when handling used hypodermic needles and follow the rules on disposal.

Hold the syringe and place the needle tip down into a medical sharps disposal container or a hard plastic container with a secure lid. Screw on the lid tightly if using your own container. Do not touch the needle during disposal.

You can get a medical sharps disposal container at any drugstore. You can also subscribe to a medical sharps disposal by mail program--several are available online. Typically, the program will send you a container and you send the container back to the facility when you are ready to dispose of it.

Locate a medical sharps facility in your area. Click on one of the links under References to search for facilities near you.

Take your container of hypodermic needles to a medical sharps recycling centre. Let the workers at the centre dispose of your needles. If you purchased a disposal by mail program, put your container in the prepaid box and send it to the program's disposal facility.


Don't dispose of medical sharps in the normal trash stream--they can pose a danger to disposal workers or anyone else who handles the trash stream.

Things You'll Need

  • Hard plastic container with secure lid or home medical sharps container
  • Medical sharps disposal centre
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About the Author

Vanessa Padgalskas was born and raised in Spokane, Wash., and currently resides in Portland, Ore. Padgalskas graduated from American University in 2007 with degrees in international studies and economics. She holds a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.