Disposal of Sharps by Health Care Facilities
The information on this page is intended for use by consumers, including patients, family members, and home health caregivers to address disposal of used needles and other sharps used at home, at work, and when traveling. This page is not for health care facilities.
For information on sharps disposal at health care facilities or disposal of regulated medical waste by health care personnel outside of health care facilities, see Sharps Disposal Containers in Health Care Facilities.
Tips for Health Care Providers
Health care providers should advise their patients on the safe disposal of needles and other sharps. The following information should help health care providers counsel their patients about safe sharps disposal:
- Find out about the sharps disposal programs available in your area and share this information with your patients. If pamphlets are available, consider placing them in your office waiting area.
- To learn about sharps disposal guidelines and programs in your community, visit the Safe Needle Disposal Web site for more information specific to your state.
- Print out the DOs and DON’Ts of proper sharps disposal for your patients.
Tips for Employers and Businesses
The risk of needle sticks, cuts and punctures from needles and other sharps is high in facilities such as airports, hotels, restaurants, and office buildings. In these places, people are more likely to throw their used needles and sharps into the trash.
Employers and businesses should consider providing sharps disposal containers in restrooms or other designated areas and make employees and guests aware of the location of the containers. Businesses with sharps disposal containers in their restrooms may need to register with their state and/or local authorities as a "sharps collection station" because they may be considered “waste generators." Contact your state and/or local authorities for legal requirements that apply to the waste generated on their premises.