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Basic Skills

Disposing of Needles Safely

By in Basic Skills

To safely dispose of needles, you’ll first need to find out the recommended process in your state.  Many local health departments or fire stations have a needle disposal program.  To find out, call Safe Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643 or visit them online.

Prepare the Needles in a Safe Container

Some states will require that you dispose of the needles in a FDA-cleared sharps container.  Some counties will allow you to throw your needles out with your household garbage.


If this is ok:

  • Put needles into a container that has a lid and that is strong enough to keep the needles from sticking through the sides, such as liquid detergent bottles or metal cans.
  • Throw the container away before it is filled all the way to the top.
  • Put the container lid on tight and use heavy tape to keep it on.
  • Put the container in the center of your garbage.


Avoid Needle Sticks

  • Don’t throw loose needles into the garbage.
  • Don’t flush, bury or burn needles.
  • Don’t put needles into a container that is not strong enough to keep them from sticking through the sides.
  • Don’t use clear plastic or glass containers.
  • Don’t mix needles with things that you recycle.
  • Don’t leave needles where other people can get them.


Updated 2/17/19

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.