Sharps waste refers to used hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, syringes, lancets, and other devices that penetrate the skin. Previously, there was no restriction on how to dispose of sharps.
In response to the increasing usage trends (increased cases of diabetes, growing aged population) and health risks posed to children, workers, and the general public, it is now illegal to place home-generated sharps waste in solid waste collection containers, including recycling and green waste containers (SB 1305 revision of a section of the State’s Medical Waste Management Act).
- Place used sharps in containers to be used for storing and transporting. Containers should be rigid, puncture resistant, have a lid, and labeled as “Sharps”. Examples include, but are not limited to: Red containers designed for sharps waste, coffee cans with lids (hard plastic or metal), bleach/detergent bottles, milk jugs, and hard plastic condiment containers (or other container approved by the department or local enforcement agency).
- Take labeled sharps container to a local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Facility or Medical Waste Disposal Center (facility that collects specific medical waste for disposal).
- Or setup to receive mail-back service. For a list of approved mail-back services, visit California Department of Public Health (fees apply).
For more information and other possible disposal options visit: