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Safe disposal of medical needles

Garbage and recycling    Guide to hazardous waste    Safe needle disposal

Got sharps at home? Help protect your family, your neighborhood and the environment by getting rid of used medical needles the right way.

sharps containersSharps and other medical waste

Medical sharps such as needles, IV tubing with needles, scalpel blades, lancets, glass tubes and syringes can harm people, pets and wildlife when discarded improperly. Placing hypodermic needles and other sharps in the trash, for example, exposes garbage haulers and other disposal workers to potential injury.

To reduce these risks, it’s illegal in Oregon to dispose of medical sharps in the garbage. Instead, they must be put in approved sharps containers and disposed of safely.

Approved sharps containers

Oregon law requires that regulated medical waste be stored and disposed of in rigid, leakproof, puncture-resistant containers clearly marked with the biohazard symbol and sealed for safety. They’re available at many local pharmacies, medical supply stores and Metro’s two household hazardous waste facilities. Learn more

Options for safe disposal

Some pharmacies, garbage haulers and recycling collection companies provide sharps disposal for a fee. Call your hauler, check the Find a Recycler tool or call Metro Recycling Information to learn about the service nearest you.

Go to the Find a Recycler tool

Metro’s container exchange program for Portland metropolitan area households makes sharps disposal safe and easy. Enroll at one of Metro’s household hazardous waste facilities for just $5 per container, and get a new sharps container at no cost each time you bring a full one back for disposal. A hazardous waste disposal fee of $5 for up to 35 gallons also applies. Call Metro Recycling Information for details.

For added convenience, you can bring your sharps container to one of Metro’s free household hazardous waste collection events, available March through November. Learn more

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