Do your part to reduce medical sharp waste by following these simple steps:
Designated household hazardous waste location or collection at public facilities
The Earth911 Medical Sharps page is the best resource for finding pharmacies and hazardous waste collection sites for your used medical sharps. If you cannot find an appropriate collection location within a reasonable distance through Earth911’s service, consider contacting your local doctor’s office, hospital, veterinarian, fire station, or sheriff’s office to see if they are willing to receive and dispose of your sharps container.
Mail-back from home
A good alternative when collection services are not available or if you have difficulty moving around your community are mail-back sharps disposal services. When using these services you will order an approved sharps container online, and once your sharps container is filled you will complete a tracking form and return the filled container in a pre-paid mailing package. There are several mail-back services available which can be found through an online search.
Home needle destruction devices
There are some FDA-approved devices that "treat” the needle in the home so that it can be discarded within your municipal solid waste stream (unless your state requires specific disposal methods for both needles and syringes). The needle destruction is typically done by burning, melting, or cutting the needle. Some products that you can purchase for home-use include:
Safe disposal in sharps containers
If other options are not available then medical sharps can be disposed of in your municipal solid waste stream if certain precautions are taken. Sharps containers adhering to EPA, OSHA, DOT, and FDA guidelines are ideal, although some states allow for the use of detergent bottles, coffee cans, or other containers that are rigid and leak-proof. A reasonable alternative sharps disposal container should be made with rigid plastic or thick metal, secured with a strong puncture-resistant lid, leak proof, and labeled so that the container is identified as hazardous waste and not for recycling.
Visit PSI’s medical sharps project page and learn more about PSI's efforts to promote medical sharp stewardship programs, view recent press articles, legislation, and find other resources on this issue.
Contact Your Legislator
You can also contact your state and local representative and tell them directly that they should sponsor legislation that would create a more robust medical sharps recycling program in your state. If you are unsure of you legislator, check out the Library of Congress's website.
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