Guide for Reuse, Repair, Recycling, and Safe Disposal
for Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City of Palo Alto

Needles & Syringes

It is illegal for needles and other sharps to be placed into trash or recycling containers since they could cause an injury. “Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Examples of sharps include needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors (such as EpiPens), and infusions sets.

Sharps must be placed in a FDA-cleared sharps disposal container immediately after they have been used. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are available at most chain pharmacies and drugstores. Check with your health provider for information about disposal containers at the time your prescription is written. If you have difficulty finding a container call Household Hazardous waste at 800-606-6606.

Disposal Options:

  • Sharps can be dropped-off at many pharmacies, drugstores, household hazardous waste facilities, and police stations - click for locations.
  • Most drop-off locations offer self-seve drop-off kiosks. Make sure sharps are placed in a FDA-cleared sharps disposal container no greater than one gallon in volume.
  • Mail-back: Free FDA-cleared sharps containers may be obtained from Med-Project by phone at 1 (844) 633-7765 or online, order by clicking here.
  • CalRecycle has additional information about sharps disposal.

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