Disposal of syringes, needles and lancets is regulated. These items are called "sharps." They can carry hepatitis, HIV and other germs that cause disease. Tossing them into the trash or flushing them down the toilet can pose health risks for others. Regulations governing disposal of sharps protect garbage workers and the general public from needle sticks and illness.
There are different rules and disposal options for different circumstances. The main difference is between sharps that are used in a business and those that are used in the home for personal reasons. And, for home users, it makes a difference whether you live in the City of Seattle or if you live in an area of King County outside Seattle. The different regulations and disposal options are explained below. Haga click aquí para información en español.
1. How to dispose of sharps used in a business
Used sharps generated by a business or commercial enterprise are consideredbiomedical waste. Safe disposal of all biomedical waste is a cost of doing business and is the responsibility of the business owner. This is true for businesses large and small, for-profit and non-profit. All biomedical waste, including sharps, must be disposed of through a licensed biomedical waste transporter or an approved treatment method.
For more information on disposal options for businesses in King County, contact one of the biomedical waste transportation vendors listed below. Business and commercial enterprises include hospitals; research and diagnostic laboratories; nursing homes; hospices; clinics; medical, dental, acupuncture and veterinary practices; pharmacies; and any other business, research, service or educational institution that uses needles, syringes, lancets or other injection equipment.:
- Stericycle, Inc.
28161 N Keith Dr.
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Customer Service line at 1-866-783-9816
- Trilogy Medwaste
3032 South Cedar St, Ste A
Tacoma, WA 98409
Corporate Customer Service Line: 1-888-763-3927
Business and commercial generators may NOT utilize the options outlined below. The following options are only for people who use sharps within their homes.
2. How to dispose of the needles, syringes or lancets used at home for personal reasons
In King County there are options for disposing of sharps generated from personal use. The options differ somewhat depending on where you live. Proper preparation and disposal are important to avoid injury to yourself and others.
The following guidelines apply to sharps you use at home and to needles and syringes you might find around your home.
- If you find a syringe or needle, do not pick it up with your bare hands. Use a glove and tongs, shovel or broom and dustpan to pick it up.
- Always place used sharps and syringes in a safe container. This can be a manufactured sharps container or a 2-liter plastic pop bottle.
- Do not break the needle off from the syringe. Needles can carry HIV, hepatitis and other germs. If the needle gets broken off from a syringe you have personally used, pull the plunger out of the barrel, put the needle in the barrel, and then replace the plunger. Please, do not flush needles or syringes down the toilet!
- Can buy at most pharmacies
- Free sharps containers may be available at your doctor or local hospital
2-liter plastic soda bottle
- Label: "SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE"
- Container no larger than 2 liters
- Ensure top is secured tightly and there are no leaks
IF YOU LIVE IN SEATTLE
It is illegal to dispose of needles, lancets and syringes in your regular garbage can or recycling container.
- First, put the items in a safe container (manufactured sharps container or empty plastic bottle as described above) and seal it tightly.
- Then, drop it in a secure sharps disposal box location. See list of drop-off locations in the Seattle and other locations in King County on a Google Map. You are responsible for putting your sharps in the drop box at the site. Your sharps container will not be returned to you.
- Another option is the outdoor, 24/7 drop box at the Downtown Public Health Center at 2124 4th Ave, Seattle
- Phone: 206-477-8300
- NOTE: If your items will not fit in the drop box, please bring them inside to the Health Center's reception desk. If you encounter this problem when the clinic is closed, you may need to return to the clinic and dispose of your sharps during normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm) in order to assure safety for all.
These drop boxes are not for use by business and commercial generators of sharps. The drop boxes are only for people who use sharps within their homes.
IF YOU LIVE IN AREAS OF KING COUNTY OUTSIDE SEATTLE CITY LIMITS
- Put the items in a safe container.
- Bring sharps container to one of disposal sites operated by King County Solid Waste. This service is free. No loose sharps allowed.
- 18800 Orilla Rd S, Tukwila, WA
- , 2300 N 165th St, Shoreline, WA
- , 18900 Westside Hwy SW, Vashon, WA
- , 13800 SE 32nd St, Bellevue, WA
- Another option is to drop the securely sealed and bottled sharps to one of the Public Health Center's 24/7 outdoor drop boxes:
- Eastgate Public Health Center, Phone: 206-477-8000
14350 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue
- Federal Way Public Health Center, Phone: 206-477-6800
33431 13th Place S, Federal Way
- NOTE: If your items will not fit in the drop box, please bring them inside to the Health Center's reception desk. If you encounter this problem when the clinic is closed, you may need to return to the clinic and dispose of your sharps during normal business hours in order to assure safety for all.
These drop boxes are not for use by business and commercial generators of sharps. The drop boxes are only for people who use sharps within their homes.
- Eastgate Public Health Center, Phone: 206-477-8000
- Check if your local pharmacy offers sharps take-back programs.
- In an emergency and as an absolute last resort, place sharps in a safe plastic container and dispose the bottle in your garbage can. The bottle must be marked, "SHARPS - DO NOT RECYCLE."
- DO NOT put the bottle in your recycling bin.
3. About returning used needles and syringes to your pharmacy or doctor
Some pharmacies will dispose of used injection supplies for you if they are safely stored in an approved manufactured sharps container. There is usually a fee for this service. Ask your pharmacist if she or he provides this service.
Some health care providers allow patients to return used injection equipment to the provider's office for disposal if it is used for medications they have prescribed. Talk to your doctor or health care provider.
4. What about the King County Needle Exchange?
Needle exchange is a disease prevention program for people who use illegal drugs. It provides new sterile syringes in exchange for used ones. Used syringes are collected from customers at no charge and are safely disposed of as commercial biomedical waste. Needle exchange accepts used sharps and syringes that are loose, as well as used equipment that is stored in containers.
Needle exchange has been successful in keeping the rate of HIV very low among people who inject drugs in King County. It also protects drug users' families, their sexual partners and their children. In addition to exchanging syringes, the program offers screening for HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne illnesses, treatment for wounds and abscesses, health education information, and assistance to get into drug treatment.See Needle Exchange schedule.
5. What to do with syringes and needles found on public and private property
- If you find a needle or syringe on public property within Seattle city limits, follow the instructions on the Seattle Public Utilities' Sharps Collection website.
- If found on private property in Seattle city limits, you can file a complaint through the Seattle Dept. of Construction and Inspections.
- If the needle or syringe is on public property in a different King County city or town, see list of city and town websites, click on the appropriate link then do a search on their page for "Code Compliance" (sometimes called 'Code Enforcement' in some cities) and submit a complaint through them.
- If the needle or syringe(s) is found on private property in King County outside of Seattle, call the Illegal Dumping Hotline at 206-296-7483.
DO immediately place used needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts or punctures from loose sharps. DO use an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, if possible.What safety precaution must be taken when disposing of used needles and syringes? ›
DO immediately place used needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts or punctures from loose sharps. DO use an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, if possible.What are the correct procedures for disposing of sharps? ›
Use a sharps bin to dispose of used needles or sharps. A sharps bin is a specially designed box with a lid that you can get on prescription (FP10 prescription form) from a GP or pharmacist. When full, the box may be collected for disposal by your local council.What are the OSHA regulations regarding disposal of sharps? ›
Employers must also ensure that contaminated sharps are disposed of in sharps disposal containers immediately or as soon as feasible after use. Sharps disposal containers must be readily accessible and located as close as feasible to the area where sharps will be used.What is the safe use and disposal of sharps policy? ›
take a sharps container with you to ensure immediate disposal at the point of use - USED sharps must never be carried in a receiver or on a tray, by hand or in pockets. They must be disposed of directly into a sharps container. Service users who use needles at home should be provided with a sharps container.What is the sharps policy? ›
Always dispose of sharps immediately after use, and at the point of use. Used sharps must never be carried around by hand or in receivers, trays or other receptacles other than sharps containers as outlined above. Never bend or break needles after use.What is the correct procedure for disposal of a used needle quizlet? ›
Place the needle and syringe (still connected) into the sharps container. Do not try to recap the needle after it has been used. Do not try to separate the needle and syringe before disposal. Needle stick to employee - Immediately wash area, and apply pressure to stop bleeding.Which of the following is an appropriate guideline for maintaining safety when using sharps? ›
Keep the object pointed away from yourself and other people at all times. Never recap or bend a sharp object. Keep your fingers away from the tip of the object. If the object is reusable, put it in a secure, closed container after you use it.How often should sharps be disposed of? ›
One should dispose of a sharps container when the bucket is 3/4 full, rather than waiting to be completely filled. This will ensure that no sharps are will splurge out the container and overall more safety of your facilities employees.What should be done when a sharps container is full quizlet? ›
What should be done when a sharps container is full? put the full sharps container in a biohazardous waste bag and put on floor. How are contaminated gloves removed? Turn inside out while removing and do not touch skin with outside of glove.
In general, regulated wastes, other than contaminated sharps, must be placed in containers which are: (i) Closable; (ii) Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport or shipping; (iii) Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraphs (g)(1)(i); (iv) Closed ...Does OSHA regulate medical waste disposal? ›
OSHA's Regulated Waste Categories
As OSHA's main focus revolves around worker safety, biohazardous standards and regulations are about proper handling of medical waste and sharps.
OSHA policy is that recapping of needles, in general, is not appropriate. Used needles are to be placed in sharps disposal containers without recapping.Which answer is correct regarding sharps containers? ›
Which answer is correct regarding sharps containers? Needle boxes or sharps containers must be located in the immediate vicinity of use and never be allowed to overfill.Can hazardous waste be placed in regulated medical waste if it is placed in a sharps container? ›
Hazardous pharmaceutical waste should be segregated and disposed of pursuant to the U.S. EPA's Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals or equivalent state law. Hazardous pharmaceutical waste should never be placed in a red bag or a sharps container.Which of the following is a safety guideline when using sharps containers quizlet? ›
Gloves should always be worn when touching the sharps container. When dropping sharps inside the container, the NA should put her hands just inside the top of the container to make sure the object is inside.What is the purpose of OSHA Safer sharps Initiative? ›
OSHA standards are intended to be implemented as a means to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses. To most effectively avoid percutaneous injuries from contaminated sharps, employers must implement engineering controls, including safer medical devices, so that employees have them available to use.What is needle safety? ›
Avoiding recapping needles. Planning for safe handling and disposal of needles before using them. Promptly disposing of used needles in conveniently placed and appropriate sharps disposal containers. Reporting all needlestick and sharps-related injuries promptly to ensure that you receive appropriate follow-up care.What items are disposed in sharps container? ›
You need to dispose (get rid) of your used needles, syringes and lancets (called 'sharps') in a sharps bin as they can injure people and carry infections. Small bins are pre-assembled.How should a nurse dispose of a used needle and syringe by? ›
Used sharps should be immediately placed in a sharps disposal container. FDA-cleared sharps containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers and online. These containers are made of puncture-resistant plastic with leak-resistant sides and bottom.
Best practice is to immediately place the connected needle and syringe into the sharps disposal container. Place contaminated dressings, gauze, cotton materials, tubing, and contaminated cleanup items in biohazard waste disposal bags. Place uncontaminated non-sharps in a standard trash can.What is the technique of disposal of syringes after collection of blood? ›
After use, a syringe is inserted into the device, and the needle portion is then cut and separated from the syringe body (barrel) and discarded. The needles are collected in a sharps container for hygienic disposal, and the barrel is dropped into a general medical waste container.Can drugs and syringes be disposed of in a yellow bag? ›
Yellow Lids are for sharps which are contaminated with medicines. Purple Lids are for sharps contaminated with cytotoxic medicines. It is important that you dispose of sharps in the correct colour sharps bin as per the Department of Health waste management regulations.Should sharps disposal containers be sealed and removed only when completely full? ›
Sharps disposal containers are marked with a line to indicate when the container is about three-fourths (3/4) full. Following the manufacturer's instructions, close and seal sharps disposal containers when about three-fourths (3/4) full.What is the difference between orange and yellow sharps bins? ›
Non-pharmaceutical sharps bins – (orange lid) – are used for tattoo needles, piercing needles, knives or stationery products. Sharps contaminated with medicinal products – (yellow lid) – are used for needles, syringes or other sharps which have been used with medicines and pharmaceuticals.How should sharps be handled and disposed of in a lab? ›
- Dispose of sharps directly, without manipulation, in an approved sharps disposal container (i.e., do not bend, shear, break, recap, or use hands to remove needles from syringes or blades from scalpels). Maintain sharps disposal containers W.A.R. (including inside a biosafety cabinet).Which container is the most appropriate for disposing of sharps? ›
FDA-Cleared Sharps Containers
The FDA recommends that used needles and other sharps be immediately placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online.
Contaminated sharps must be discarded immediately in containers that are closeable, puncture resistant, leakproof, and labeled or color-coded.What is the appropriate method to dispose of blood and body fluids? ›
Many bloodborne pathogens, particularly bloodborne viruses, are not stable in the environment for long periods of time;1425, 1426 therefore, the discharge of small quantities of blood and other body fluids to the sanitary sewer is considered a safe method of disposing of these waste materials.What is the OSHA standard for hazardous waste? ›
OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standards (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910.120; and construction 29 CFR 1926.65) established health and safety requirements for employers engaged in these operations, as well as responses to emergencies involving releases of hazardous substances.
Vomit, urine, feces and solidified (non liquid) blood are generally not considered regulated waste in federal or state waste guidelines. Foodservice organizations like grocery stores, restaurants and schools are not considered medical waste generators.What is a OSHA violation? ›
What Are OSHA Violations? An OSHA violation occurs when a company or employee willingly or unknowingly ignores potential and real safety hazards. A violation does not always mean an incident occurred; it can also be substantiated during the OSHA inspection process.Which is not a recognized regulated medical waste? ›
Disposal of Dialysates, Feces, and Urine
The term blood and body fluids does not include dialysates, feces, or urine if not removed during surgeries and autopsies. Dialysates, feces and urine that are not designated as blood and body fluids are not regulated medical waste.
Used needles and syringes should be disposed of as a whole. The needle and syringe must not be separated before being disposed of.Is a syringe a biological hazard? ›
Medical sharps, more specifically, used hypodermic needles and syringes, are a serious form of biohazardous waste that can have disastrous outcomes when not properly disposed of — both in your home or on the go.What is the most appropriate way to dispose of a contaminated needle? ›
- Step 1: Place all needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container immediately after they have been used. ...
- Step 2: Dispose of used sharps disposal containers according to your community guidelines.
Gently bend the needle down, when you remove it from the syringe for disposal.Which of the following must not be done when disposing of a contaminated needle? ›
Which of the following must not be done when disposing of a contaminated needle? Bend the needle before placing it in a sharps container.What is the proper protocol for disposing of infectious waste? ›
Place all biohazardous waste in a red biohazardous waste bag. The biohazardous waste bag must then be put in a rigid container for storage until it is picked up for proper disposal. Place all sharps in a sharps container. Sharps containers must be sealed prior to being discarded or replaced.Which waste bin should be used to dispose of a broken syringe needle? ›
Disposal of Sharps by Health Care Facilities
The safest way to dispose of a used needle is to immediately place it in a sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts and punctures from loose sharps.
Which of the following is the best way to dispose of a contaminated needle? Place the needle in a sharps container as soon as possible after use.Which of the following should not be disposed of in a sharps container? ›
Things that should not be thrown in a sharps container include: Tape, paper, bandages/gauze, exam gloves, alcohol preps. Medication and medication wrappers. Aerosols or inhalers.Which of the following are classed as sharps and should be discarded in a sharps container? ›
Medical sharps (sharps) include any device used for a healthcare activity to puncture or lacerate the skin and include: needles, and anything attached to them such as syringes. scalpels and scissors. lancets.What is the greatest danger of medical waste? ›
Health Risks. Health-care waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms which can infect hospital patients, health workers, and the general public. Other potential infectious risks may include the spread of drug-resistant microorganisms from health facilities into the environment.Which of the following method Cannot be used for waste disposal? ›
Final answer: Cycling is not a method of disposal of garbage.What are the proper disposal methods for laboratory waste? ›
There are three basic routes of disposal of laboratory chemical waste: Sanitary sewer or trash disposal of non-hazardous materials; Acid-base neutralization, followed by sewer disposal. Note:Any other type of treatment must be part of an experimental procedure to be considered legal; and.How do you dispose of specimens? ›
Place specimens and any associated tissues in a sealable plastic bag or the bags in which they were shipped. Seal the bag and place it in an additional plastic trash bags. Deposit the specimens in a securely covered trash container that will not allow children and animals to access the contents.