Sharps (Syringes and Needles)
What are home-generated syringes and needles?
Home-generated syringes and needles are medical items used at home to inject medications. Diabetics who inject insulin use needles and syringes to inject this medication. Other medical treatments include home injections.
Why do home-generated syringes and needles pose a public health risk?
Home-generated syringes and needles can carry disease-causing germs such as those that cause hepatitis or AIDS. These germs can enter the body if the skin is punctured. It is important to clean and dispose of home-generated syringes and needles to avoid injury.
How to dispose of sharps
Used needles require special handling and disposal in order to protect public health and the environment.
A special "sharps collector" is available from some local pharmacies and other service providers. The containers are puncture proof plastic with a lid. They hold a large number of syringes, and can be returned to the store for safe disposal. The containers are also a safe way to store used sharps for the pick up or mail back services available from several private waste companies. For a list of participating pharmacies, see our "Don't Needle Your Garbage Collector" brochure.