Safe Disposal of Household Medical Waste
Improperly discarded household medical waste can cause injury and environmental damage. Household medical waste includes supplies that may be soiled with blood or other bodily fluids and medication that has expired or will not be used.
Populations at Risk
- People who give injections to themselves or others;
- Healthcare workers;
- Sanitation workers.
What you should do
Dispose of Sharps (needles, syringes, lancets) Safely
- Put sharps into a sharps container immediately after use. (Syringes with attached needles should be disposed of with the needle still attached. Do not try to remove, bend, break, or recap the needle.)
- If you do not have a sharps container, put items in a puncture-proof plastic container and tape the lid closed. Do not use a glass container.
- Store the waste container safely away from children
- Put the sealed container into the center of a full, preferably dark trash back and throw it out with the regular trash. Never put any type of sharp container in the recycle bin.
Dispose of Soiled or Bloody Items; Gauze, Gloves, and Bandages Safely
- Put items in a sealed, leak-proof plastic bag.
- Put bags in the regular trash.
- Use trash barrels with tight lids to avoid attracting animals.
Turn in Medications to Drug Enforcement Officials for Disposal
Dispose of Unused, Expired and/or Unused Medications at Home
- Take the medicine (prescription or over-the-counter) out of its original container.
- Crush tablets or pills. Liquids, gels, ointments, or creams can be mixed with cat litter or used coffee grounds.
- Put the medicine into a disposable container with a lid or into a sealable plastic bag.
- Conceal or remove any personal information (including prescription number) on the empty containers by covering information with black permanent marker or duct tape or peel off the label.
- Put the sealed contained or bag and the empty medicine bottles in the regular trash.
- Do not flush unused medicine down the toilet or drain. (Some medicines could contaminate drinking water supplies or wells.)