How to Safely Dispose of Home “Sharps”
Sharps and syringes: keep them out of your recycling and garbage!
A number of health hazards are posed to sanitation workers by syringes, needles, lancets and sharps. Each year, garbage and recycling personnel are injured with needle sticks and cuts from lancets. Diseases such as HIV and hepatitis are of primary concern. Tetanus can also result from a “puncture” wound from a syringe.
Public awareness of diseases carried in the blood stream is at an all-time high and people are demanding better protection. An injured worker, his or her employer, or anyone “stuck” by a syringe at curbside can sue the generator (user) of the syringe. Don’t let this happen to you!
The SAFE ways to dispose of used sharps.
Use your pharmacy’s sharps collection program or drop them off at one of the county’s household hazardous waste depots in the spring and fall.
Pharmacy Collection Programs
Use your pharmacy’s sharps collection program. Ask your pharmacist for the proper disposal containers and return them to the pharmacy when they are full. Contact one of the local pharmacies about their sharps disposal programs, provided free of charge:
If you are business that generates needles, you must register as a biomedical waste generator with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Norfolk County’s sharps collection program is only for household-generated sharps.
Most diseases are not transferable from animals to humans, but that does not mean that syringes used for veterinary purposes pose less of a threat to sanitation workers. All needles, regardless of origin, are a potential health hazard. Check with your pharmacy or veterinary clinic to see if they take back used syringes.
Sharps and the Trash
Never place sharps in the garbage (or the recycling) Take used sharps back to the point of purchase. Put capped needles, intact, in a thick, opaque or metal container with a screw-on, tight-fitting lid and 1/3 cup of bleach seal. Make sure you tape the lid securely with waterproof tape. Or use a container purchased or provided by the pharmacy. For more information visit www.healthsteward.ca
Household Hazardous Waste Depots
Norfolk County holds temporary household hazardous waste collection depots in the spring and fall. You can dispose of your sharps, free of charge, at any of these special collection sites. (See Household Hazardous Waste Depot page.)