Household "Sharps" (Needle) Disposal

Improperly disposing of sharps used at home can pose a public health risk. If not properly secured, discarded needles may expose your trash collection crew and other waste workers to potential needle stick injuries and potential infection.

There are 2 main routes for handling needles and syringes: return/exchange or disposal.

Needle Drop Off Locations

Specialized containers may be purchased that allow you to mail or drop off needles at designated private collection centers. For a list of companies that provide this service, contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at 800-643-1643 or visit their website Safe Needle Disposal. Patients using sharps may also find assistance with exchange or disposal through their primary care physician and may want to ask their doctor’s office whether this service is offered. 

FDA-Cleared Sharps Containers

The FDA recommends that used needles and other sharps be immediately placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online.

 Alternative Disposal Containers


diy-containerOtherwise, in Frederick County, residents may place used needles and syringes inside a sturdy, rigid plastic container (not soft plastic, such as a milk jug, which might be punctured) with a narrow opening and tight-fitting lid; good examples would include laundry detergent containers or bleach bottles. Mark the container "SHARPS". When it is full, tape the container securely shut and place it in your household trash for regular disposal.

Note: *It is important to note that this disposal information pertains only to household medical items. By law, businesses have different medical waste disposal criteria.