Sharps – Syringes

Sharps Overview

IMPORTANT!!! Due to safety and health risks to garbage haulers, recycling sort-line workers, and landfill and transfer station workers, DO NOT place loose needles, syringes and lancets in the garbage.

Medical needles, syringes and lancets poses a safety hazard to anyone who may come into contact with the items. It is important to dispose of them safely to prevent injury and disease transmission.

There are several options for safe disposal of sharps like needles, syringes and lancets used at home:

  • Clinic or hospital collection – Check with your health care provider for a collection program at your clinic or hospital. Don’t take used needles, syringes or lancets to your health care provider unless you know they are accepted.
  • Destroy your needles at home – Purchase and use a destruction device that bends, breaks, incinerates (destroys by high heat), or shears needles. Search online for “needle destruction devices,” or ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information.

Sharps Recycling Steps

Follow these steps for safe disposal instead:

  • Put the caps back on used needles and syringes.
  • Place needles, syringes and lancets into a plastic laundry detergent bottle with a screw-on cap.
  • Label the container “Do not recycle: household sharps.”
  • Put sharps in point-first.
  • Dispose of containers at a drop-off site or in the garbage when they are half-full and tape the bottle shut. Never place medical sharps in the recycling bin.

For more information, see the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s safe disposal options for needles and syringes or contact your county.