What Is the Proper Way to Dispose of Used Needles?

Individuals who need to dispose of used needles should place them in a sharps disposal container and then dispose of the container as the community advises, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Every community has different standards for the disposal of used needles.

Some of the options communities give residents for needle disposal include drop boxes, waste collection sites, mail-back programs and waste pickup services, explains the FDA. Some communities have sharps disposal containers at community collection sites such as hospitals, health departments or pharmacies. Fire and police stations may also provide these services

Other communities have areas where residents can take needles and other substances, such as motor oil, paint and household cleaners, states the FDA. Mail-back programs are also available in some communities, but there is usually a fee for this service. The fees vary depending on the container’s size, and there are very specific requirements for labeling the packages.

In communities that offer pickup services for needle disposal, special waste handlers who have received training pick up needle disposal containers directly from homes in the community. There is a fee for this service, and there are certain requirements that a resident must meet. Some of the programs operate on a schedule, and some of the programs are on-demand, notes the FDA.