Household "Sharps" (Needle) Disposal

Improperly disposing of sharps used at home can pose a public health risk. If not properly secured, discarded needles may expose your trash collection crew and other waste workers to potential needle stick injuries and potential infection.

There are three main routes for handling needles and syringes: return/exchange, disposal in a FDA-approved container, or, disposal in a sturdy, alternative container:

Needle Drop Off Locations

Specialized containers may be purchased that allow you to mail or drop off needles at designated private collection centers. For a list of companies that provide this service, please call 1-800-643-1643 or visit the Safe Needle Disposal website. Patients using sharps may also find assistance with exchange or disposal through their primary care physician and may want to ask their doctor’s office whether this service is offered. 

FDA-Cleared Sharps Containers

The FDA recommends that used needles and other sharps be immediately placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online.

 Alternative Disposal Containers


diy-containerFrederick County residents may also simply place used needles and syringes inside a sturdy, rigid plastic container (not soft or thin plastic, such as a milk jug or water bottle, which might be punctured) with a narrow opening and tight-fitting lid; good examples would include laundry detergent containers or bleach bottles. Mark the container "SHARPS". When it is full, tape the container securely shut and place it in your household trash for regular disposal.

Download our sharps flyer here or visit the Health Department's helpful page for additional info on sharps and medicine disposal programs.

Note: *It is important to note that this disposal information pertains only to household medical items. By law, businesses have different medical waste disposal criteria.