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April 26, 2000

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Virginia, USA:

My daughter is eight years old. Her 5 year anniversary is next week, and I have every single syringe she has ever used. Where can I go to dispose of these things? The local hospital does not accept "home care" needles, and the health department says to put them in a container like a coffee can (which I do anyway) and tape it up, then take it to the trash disposal site. I can not bring myself to do that! Can you give me some suggestions (the cans are really stacking up in the basement)?

Answer:

You have brought up a very interesting challenge! I can imagine you are running our of room by now, huh?

Regarding disposal of syringes, this is what I know: each state has their own requirements and the one you quoted in your state is the same for mine, Arizona. I know it sounds unusual, but placed in a coffee can the thought is that they will not puncture through when smashed. Other possibilities are your local pharmacy, hospital or physician’s office. The problem with that is there is a cost to them for sending medical waste for disposal. In most states, medical offices fall under different rules the home trash and must have a professional medical waste company take it away. This costs them on a monthly basis based on volume and if you were to take all your syringes, it would probably increase their costs. It would not hurt to ask, or, if you are uncomfortable disposing of them through your trash, you could contact the medical waste folks and ask how to arrange it for you.

KS