Disposal of home-generated syringes and needles
Home-generated syringes and needles can carry disease-causing germs such as those that cause hepatitis or AIDS. These germs can enter the body if the skin is punctured. It is important to carefully dispose of home-generated syringes and needles to avoid injury.
Why home-generated syringes and needles pose a public health risk
Home-generated syringes and needles can carry disease-causing germs such as those that cause hepatitis or AIDS. These germs can enter the body if the skin is punctured. It is important to clean and dispose of home-generated syringes and needles to avoid injury.
Safe ways to dispose of home-generated syringes and needles
Home-generated syringes and needles are exempt from the guidelines for the disposal of biomedical waste unless they have been prepared for disposal so that people who have to handle them are protected from injury.
If you find a syringe or needle, do not pick it up with your bare hands. Use a glove and tongs, shovel, or broom and dustpan to pick it up.
Home-generated syringes and needles must be disposed of in one of the following ways:
- In King County, sharps, including syringes, can be disposed of in the garbage if the sharps are placed in a puncture resistant container such as a 2 liter PET pop bottle, with a tight fitting or taped lid and labeled "SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE."
- In the City of Seattle, no syringes or sharps can be disposed of in the garbage. They should be placed in a puncture resistant container with a tight fitting lid, labeled "SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE" and taken to the North or South Transfer station and placed in the collection bin for disposal.
- See extensive information on safe and legal disposal of sharps in King County
What to do with syringes and needles found on public and private property
- If you find a needle or syringe on public property within Seattle city limits, follow the instructions on the Seattle Public Utilities' Sharps Collection website.
- If found on private property in Seattle city limits, you can file a complaint through the Seattle Dept. of Construction and Inspections.
- If the needle or syringe is on public property in a different King County city or town, see list of city and town websites, click on the appropriate link then do a search on their page for "Code Compliance" (sometimes called 'Code Enforcement' in some cities) and submit a complaint through them.
- If the needle or syringe(s) is found on private property in King County outside of Seattle, call the Illegal Dumping Hotline at 206-296-7483.