Household Hazardous Waste: Sharps

Disposing of Medical Sharps in the Trash is Illegal

sharps - 200x323 q30As of September 1, 2008 it is illegal to dispose of medical sharps in the trash. Home-generated needles and other medical sharps that are thrown into household waste or flushed down the toilet present a great risk to sanitation and sewage treatment workers. Used needles, syringes, and lancets can injure people and spread diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and syphilis. Since all used needles and syringes may carry disease, anyone incurring a needle stick injury must undergo expensive medical testing and treatment in addition to worrying about his/her health.

Alameda County residents can dispose of their medical sharps waste for free at any of Alameda County’s Household Hazardous Waste facilities. Proof of Alameda County residency is required and only home-generated sharps in approved containers will be accepted. Approved sharps containers are available from medical providers and most chain pharmacies and drugstores, as well as some discount warehouse stores. Follow instructions for filling and sealing, and then bring the container to a Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Keep the container separate from any other waste and let the greeter know you have sharps with you when you arrive.

For further information and a schedule, visit www.stopwaste.org, call 510-670-6460, or email HHWSharps@acgov.org.