Health Department

Posted on: April 4, 2018

Safely Disposing of Sharps

Photo of a Sharps Container to safely dispose of used needles

No. 05-18

Have you ever wondered where you or a loved one can dispose of used medical syringes (sharps)? Proper disposal of sharps at home can prevent injury, illness, and the polluting of our environment. Madison County has a program in place that can help with safe disposal.

Madison County’s Safe Syringe Disposal Program makes syringe disposal easy and safe by providing special puncture-resistant plastic containers for disposal of used sharps. The bright red biohazard containers are available free at pharmacies in Madison County, the Madison County Landfill Office on Buyea Road, and the Madison County Health Department on N. Court Street in Wampsville. Once full, the red sharps container may be dropped off at the Landfill or any county transfer station (Town of Cazenovia, Hamilton, or Sullivan). Other locations, such as hospitals and nursing homes, also accept the containers at designated times.

It is important to not put syringes, needles, and lancets in any other type of container that will be recycled, and do not mix sharps with your recyclables or garbage. Safely disposing of needles and syringes will help reduce the risk of injury to trash haulers, those working in the Landfill and Recycling Center, and anyone who could accidentally come into contact with the waste, such as children.

While it is not recommended to collect discarded syringes, you may feel it is necessary to protect your children, pet, or others from coming into contact with needles you find on your private property or in public. If you do decide to pick up discarded sharps, keep as much distance as possible between you and the syringe by using a broom and dust pan or using pair of tongs to handle the syringe. Wear gloves. Place the syringe in a sharps container, if available. If not available, use a puncture-resistant container, such as a bleach or laundry detergent bottle and clearly label it as containing sharps. Remember that soda bottles, glass containers, and coffee cans are not good storage devices. Do not force a syringe into a container; find one that is large enough to easily drop the syringe into. Take the container to the Madison County Health Department in Wampsville.

 For more information and a complete listing of locations in Madison County who will accept full sharps containers, click here for safe Syringe Disposal Program Information.

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