Protect yourself. Protect your community.
Used sharps pose a health risk. Never put needles and other sharp medical items in the trash, recycling, or medication collection drop boxes.
It is dangerous to mix household medical sharps (needles, syringes, and lancets) with household garbage and recyclables, or to flush them down the toilet. These sharps pose a health risk to anyone who comes into contact with these items and can injure sanitation workers or cause equipment problems. Therefore, it is important to properly package and dispose of all sharps.
Five Simple Steps to Safe Packaging
Follow these five steps for packaging your used or discarded unused sharps at home:
- Clip the needle points with needle clippers or recap or re-sheathe discarded sharps to help prevent needle sticks.
- Place sharps in rigid, puncture-resistant containers with secure lids or caps such as heavy plastic detergent or bleach bottles. NOTE: Do not add bleach to the container as it may not disinfect the sharps, and therefore poses a health risk to a waste handler.
- Visibly label the sharps container with the words “bio-hazard,” “infectious waste,” “sharps,” or with the bio-hazard emblem. It is also a good idea to label your container with “Do Not Recycle.”
- Store your container out of reach of children and pets.
- When the container is full, sealed, and labeled, dispose of it properly at a registered “sharps collection station.”
Some registered sharps collection stations may charge a nominal fee and some offer the service for free. All Fort HealthCare Clinics and Fort Memorial Hospital are free sharps drop-off sites during regular business hours.
For more information about safe options for household sharps disposal, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website at dnr.wi.gov. Additional information can be viewed at both the Jefferson County Health Department and the Watertown Department of Public Health.