Community Health

Sharps Disposal

The State of Indiana does not currently have rules for the proper disposal of sharps used in the home. Each county is different in their recommendations. Contact your local officials for more information on sharps disposal. There are some national recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The following are some suggested safe disposal options:

  • Locate Drop-Off Collection Sites in Your Community- These could include hospitals, doctor's offices, police and fire stations, pharmacies, etc.
  • Household Hazardous Waste Collection Site- These are sites that dispose of household cleaners, motor oil, and paint. They may also accept sharps containers.
  • Residential Special Waste Pickup Services- Special sharps containers can be picked up by Special Waste Pickup Services. You may have to call for each pick-up.
  • Mail Back Programs- Putting sharps in approved containers to go in the mail may be an option in your area. You can mail them to a collection site for disposal.
  • Syringe Exchange Programs- These programs can be offered by community organizations. They exchange used sharps for new ones, and dispose of the old ones for you.
  • Home Needle Destruction Devices- These can clip, melt, or burn the needle. The plunger can then be thrown away in the regular trash.

If none of the above services are available in your area, you can use a heavy-duty plastic container with a small sealable lid to dispose of your needles. Be sure the needles are not able to poke through the bottle. Do not use a coffee can because it can be penetrated by the needles. When the container is full, tape the lid on it and write "WARNING: SYRINGES - DO NOT RECYCLE" on the bottle and place it in your trash. Keep the bottle out of the reach of children and pets while it is still in use.