The Concern

In our three-county solid waste district, employees of local waste hauling facilities face the danger of getting “stuck” by improperly disposed needles every day. If a waste hauler’s employee gets stuck, they are immediately taken off their route, the area where they were stuck must be cleaned, and they are on their way to the nearest medical facility for a battery of tests that include, but are not limited to tetanus, hepatitis, and even HIV. The employee must then be monitored for a period of time to be sure that they did not contract anything from the incident.

Community Awareness

Diabetics are just part of the big picture as syringes are used more and more at home for medical reasons. Are you disposing of syringes properly? This is the question, and a program that the District is working on with area pharmacists. Remember, when you throw away your syringe in the trash bag your garbage hauler is at risk when they pick up a bag with an exposed needle. This campaign, targets safe disposal of needles and the threat to garbage collectors, will address this issue. Look for this ad in local newspapers and pharmacy counters, and follow these disposal tips to protect yourself and others:

Use a Sharp’s container to dispose of your syringes. These containers are available at some pharmacies and medical supply stores.

If you do not have a Sharp’s container use a wide mouth heavy plastic container with a tight lid, (detergent or fabric softener container). When the container is two-thirds to three-fourths full, tightly close the container and seal with masking or heavy adhesive tape. Discard in regular trash.
Note: If you use the container in the home be sure to place it in an area that is not accessible to children or visitors.

Contact your hauler to see if they have any specific guidelines for the disposal of syringes.