Home-generated or found sharps, needles, and syringes pose health and safety threats to the public and cannot be placed in the trash without being properly disposed of in a safe manner. The Universal Recycling Law allows people to reuse rigid plastic bottles to dispose of their home-generated sharps. Follow the steps below for safe disposal.

Discarding syringes and other sharps:

What if I find a sharp?

  • Wear heavy-duty gloves.
  • Use a tool like tongs or pliers to pick up the sharp.
  • DO NOT disconnect the needle from the syringe.
  • DO NOT handle sharps with bare hands.
  • DO NOT throw sharps into the trash or the toilet.
  • Teach children to tell an adult if they see needles.
used needle in grass


How should I get rid of sharps?

Choose a Container

  • Use a heavy-duty laundry detergent or bleach container with a screw top.
  • DO NOT use soda or water bottles.
  • Carefully put used sharps in the container with the needle end down.
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  • Label the container with the warning: DO NOT RECYCLE!
  • DO NOT fill the container full.

Seal & Dispose

  • When the container is ready for disposal, screw the cap on tightly and cover the top with strong tape, like duct tape.
  • Dispose of the container with household trash.
  • DO NOT put this container in recycling.
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What should I do if I get stuck?

  • Stop what you are doing.
  • Let the wound bleed.
  • Wash with soap and running water.
  • Apply antiseptic and/or bandage.
  • Note the time of the injury, the needle's location and what it looked like. Was it dirty?

You may need a blood test or vaccine. Go to an emergency room or urgent care center right away.