Needle, Syringe & Sharps Disposal

This web page contains used sharps home disposal guidelines to help protect your family, waste handlers and the environment.

Disposal Sites

Take-back programs are the safest option for residents to dispose of their medical sharps. Find locations that can safely handle your sharps through our interactive map at the button below. Click the "sharps accepted" filter to show locations that accept sharps.

Medication Disposal Map Button

This map includes location specific information including what is accepted, how to package your sharps, and the location of the drop off point. Note: these locations are not intended for business waste.

Many locations are changing procedures or have restricted access due to Covid-19. Locations also vary in what the accept and how they want it packaged for drop off. To help ensure you are not turned away, please verify that a location is operating and can take your items prior to arrival.

View a list of all locations here:  Sharps Disposal Directory

About Sharps

"Sharps" are needles, syringes with attached needles, and disposable lancets. Although it is legal to place household needles and sharps containers into residential trash, this is not a safe option for our community. Even "self-sheathing" or retractable sharps post a danger because the plastic casing is easily broken.

Sharps are dangerous in your household trash

Inside a trash can or bag, the loose or containerized sharps can injure family members and waste collectors or inappropriately fall into the hands of children or others.

Sharps are dangerous in a garbage truck

Once in the truck, sharps containers can break open from the pressure of the trash compactors. Many workers run the risk of sharps contact from trash on sorting floors, in recycling lines, and in landfill operations. The best solution to reducing risks from sharps is to take them to sharps collection centers!

  1. Disposal Guidelines
  2. Mail-In Programs
  3. Sharps Pointers

Sharps Disposal Guidelines

  • Step 1: Purchase a sharps container from a pharmacy. They cost a few dollars and can hold from 30 to 300 used sharps, depending on the container’s size. Sharps containers are puncture-resistant with a special opening. Facilities collecting sharps to may also accept other forms of containers, so check with each location before arrival. 
  • Step 2: As the sharps are used, place them immediately into the sharps container. Close the container, then tape it shut when full.
  • Step 3: Take the full container to a residential disposal location or other participating location such as the Home Toxics Center (Washtenaw County residents only). Give the filled, sealed sharps container to the pharmacist or staff member. Do not leave the container unattended. Your used sharps will now be properly disposed of in compliance with all medical waste regulations, and are not contributing negatively to anyone’s safety!

Sharps Disposal Dos

  • Do store sharps containers in areas that are child- and animal-proof.
  • Do label sharps containers, "SHARPS".
  • Do secure the top of a full container and seal with sturdy tape.
  • Do return full sharps containers to participating pharmacies for proper disposal.
  • Do responsibly handle sharps used away from home.

Sharps Disposal Don’ts

  • Don’t place loose sharps into the trash.
  • Don’t break, bend, clip, recap or reuse needles.
  • Don’t place sharps in aluminum cans, coffee cans, glass jars or clear plastic containers. These containers break too easily.
  • Don’t place sharps containers in recycling bins.
  • Don’t flush sharps down the toilet.