Needles and syringes (known as "sharps"), whether used for medical or other purposes, pose a risk to public health and safety if not disposed of properly. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a list of approved and regulated disposal methods that ensure sharps are properly discarded. In addition, to these option below, check with the EPA of the state you reside in, which may have further regulations.
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Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites
Individuals can discard their used sharps in a container of their own and then bring them to a local drop-off location, typically a doctor's office, hospital, or pharmacy. Contact your local public health department for a list of participating drop-off locations. Disposal is typically free of charge.
You can locate sharp disposal mail-back programs by contacting your local health department, the phone book, or searching the Internet. The program will send you an approved container to dispose of your needles and syringes, which you will mail back. Mail-back programs charge a fee based on container disposal size.
Syringe Exchange Program
The North American Syringe Exchange network allows users to send in their used sharps in exchange for new ones. This exchange ensures both safe disposal of used needles and that you receive safe, sterile needles in return.
North American Syringe Exchange Network (253) 272-4857 nasen.org
Needle Destruction Devices
You can purchase devices that will destroy your sharps at home by burning and melting them away, making them safe for trash disposal. Contact your local pharmacist or research online to purchase a device. Devices will vary in price.
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