Protect  Yourself,
                                                                                                                        Protect  Others
                                                                                                        Safe Options  for  Home Needle  Disposal
Traveling  with  Needles

Don't forget, safe needle disposal is important no matter where you are—at
home, at work, or on the road. Never place used needles in the trash in hotel
rooms, on airplanes, or in public restrooms, where they could injure the clean-
ing staff or other people.
 Sharps and Air Travel

 Before you fly, check the Transportation
 Security Administration (TSA) Web site
 ( for up-to-date rules on what
 to do with your needles when you travel.
 To make your trip through airport security
 easier, make sure your medicines are
 labeled with the type of medicine and the
 manufacturer's name or a drug store label,
 and bring a letter from your doctor.
Be prepared—ask about options for
safe needle disposal when you make
travel reservations, board an airplane,
or check into a hotel or cruise ship.
If you aren't sure that needle contain-
ers will be available where you're
going, be sure to buy a needle contain-
er that you can take with you to hold
your used needles until you can throw
them away the right way.
                    44-year-old trash collector was
                    stuck in the leg with a needle from
                   .someone's trash. A year later, he
            started having stomach pains. His doctor
            told him that he had caught  Hepatitis C,
            probably from being stuck by the needle.
            Doctors have not been able to help him,
            and he is now in chronic  liver failure. He
            will likely die from this disease.
            It's not just trash workers who are at risk
            of needle sticks—it's also your neighbors,
            children, janitors, housekeepers, and pets.
            That's why used needles should not be
            thrown in the garbage.
   United States
   Environmental Protection Agency
   Washington, DC 20460

   June 2006

  > Recycled/Recyclable—Printed with Vegetable Oil Based Inks on 100%
   Postconsumer, Process Chlorine Free Recycled Paper
                                                                                             Why are  used
                                                                                             needles dangerous?
                                                                                               Used needles and lancets are
                                                                                               dangerous because they can:

                                                                  +  Injure people

                                                                  +  Spread germs

                                                                  4  Spread diseases such as HIV/AIDS,
                                                                     hepatitis, tetanus, and syphillis

                                                                  All needles should be treated as if they carry a
                                                                  disease. That means that if  someone gets stuck
                                                                  with a needle, they have to  get expensive med-
                                                                  ical tests and worry about whether they have caught
                                                                  a harmful or deadly disease. Be sure you get rid of
                                                                  your used needles the safe  way to avoid exposing other
                                                                  people to harm.
Loose needles in trash
                      Throw loose needles in the garbage

                      Flush used needles down the toilet

                      Put needles in recycling containers
Use one of the recommended
disposal methods in this brochure
             Remember, not all of the options listed in this brochure
             are available in all areas. Check carefully to see what
             options are available near you—it could save a life!

  Recommended   Needle  Disposal  Options  for  Self-Injectors
                                       Community Services
                                                                                               National Services
 Collection Sites
Some communities offer
collection sites that accept used
needles—often for free. These
collection sites may be at local
hospitals, doctors' offices,
health clinics, pharmacies,
health departments, community
organizations, police and fire
departments, and medical waste
facilities. Don't just leave your
needles at one of these places
—make sure the site accepts
them, and be sure to put
needles in the right place.
Hazardous Waste"
Many communities have a dis-
posal site already set up that
accepts "household hazardous
waste" items like used oil, bat-
teries, and paint. In some
places, these centers also
accept used needles. If your
area has a hazardous household
waste center, be sure it accepts
used needles before you go,
and put needles in the right
place when you drop them off.
 "Special Waste"
  Pickup Service
Some communities offer a
"special waste" pickup service
that collects your full container
of used needles from your
house. Some services require
you to call for a pickup, while
others collect used needles on
a regular schedule.
Syringe Exchange
These programs let you trade
your used needles for new
ones. The group that runs the
service will dispose of your
used needles safely.
                              How Can  I Find More Information?
   Call your trash or public health department, listed in the city or county government (blue) pages in
   your phone book, to find out about programs available in your area.
   Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Web site at  for a list
   of needle disposal rules in your state, along with needle disposal programs near you.
   Ask your health care provider or local pharmacist if they can dispose of your used needles,  or if
   they know of safe disposal programs near you.
   Contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at (800) 643-1643 or visit the Web site
   at  to find out about safe disposal programs near you.
   Visit the Earth 911 Web site at .
                                                      Contact the North American
                                                      Syringe Exchange Program at
                                                      (253) 272-4857 or visit the
                                                      Web site at .
Mail-back  Service
You can buy this service, which
comes with a needle container
and mail-back packaging.
You fill the needle container
with your used needles and
mail it back in the package that
is provided by the company.
You have to pay for this service,
and the price usually depends
on the size of the container
you pick.
   Home Needle
Several manufacturers offer
products for sale that allow you
to destroy needles at home by
burning, melting or cutting off
the needle—making it safe to
throw in the garbage. Prices
vary depending on the product.

Before buying any medical
device for home use, be sure
it's been approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                    How Can I Find More  Information?
                                                      For a list of mail-back service
                                                      companies, contact the
                                                      Coalition for Safe Community
                                                      Needle Disposal at
                                                      (800) 643-1643 or visit
                                                      the Web site at
                                                      When contacting a mail-back
                                                      service company, be sure to ask
                                                      them if the service is approved
                                                      by the U.S. Postal Service.
                                                      For information pertaining to
                                                      needle destruction devices,
                                                      please see FDA's Web site at:
 The mention of any company, product, or process in this publication does not constitute or imply endorsement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.