PLEASE NEVER PLACE LOOSE NEEDLES AND SYRINGES IN THE TRASH OR RECYCLING!
Residential sharps (ie. needles, syringes, lancets) generated from households in Illinois should be disposed of following the guidance below. Improper disposal of home-generated medical waste poses a potential health hazard to anyone who handles them including family members, neighbors and sanitation workers. Although rare, serious diseases including Hepatitis B & C and HIV can result from accidental contact with used sharps.
The Illinois EPA, Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) Section encourages the following safer disposal methods.
IEPA's fact sheet on sharps disposal guidelines provides a hierarchy of disposal methods. The first choice should be to drop them off at a designated collection site. If that isn't available or feasible, the second choice should be to use a mail-in program. If that isn't available or feasible, the third and final choice should be to dispose (carefully prepared) sharps in household trash.
Safe Packaging of Sharps
Regardless of how sharps are to be disposed of, always follow the following safe packaging guidelines:
- Use a puncture-proof sharps container which can be purchased at a pharmacy. Mail in programs will provide a suitable container. Alternatively, hard plastic household containers, which should be unbreakable and puncture resistant, may be reused to contain sharps. We recommend a laundry detergent bottle. Milk jugs and coffee cans are not suitable.
- Sharps should be placed in the sharps container immediately after use.
- Put sharps in point-first.
- Store sharps in closed container with the cap or lid in place when not in use and until disposal.
- Containers more than half-full should be disposed of. Do not cram them full.
- Clearly label container
“SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE” with a permanent marker.
- When the container is half full, tape lid on securely with duct tape.
Commercially produced sharps containers are the best option, but a well labeled detergent bottle will do. All containers should be sealed closed and labeled prior to disposal.
The only known drop off in Kane County is at the County Coroner's Office. Note, the Coroner's Office moved to a new location in 2021:
Address: 37W699 IL-38, St. Charles, IL 60175/ 630-232-3535
Hours: M-F 8:30am-4:30pm
Guidelines: All sharps must be placed in a one-gallon or smaller sturdy plastic container (laundry detergent or sharps container of the same size). The lid must be securely closed and duct taped. Sharps must be from human use only, not from animal use. Limit of one container per month per person.
Residents Only: Sharps are accepted from Kane County residents only. Please bring ID to prove residency.
No businesses: This is not a business med waste disposal program.
As of 2021, the Coroner's Office is located within the new multi-use facility at the Kane County Judicial Complex.
AMS Med Waste, LLC, based in Lake-in-the-Hills; mail-in and pick-up options available (847) 658-0400
Eco Medical Waste Mail Back Program
MedPro Disposal Mailback Systems
Sharps Compliance Inc. Sharps Recover Systems
Stericycle Mailback Systems
Waste Management (WM) Think Green From Home - note, WM also offers mail back of larger sharps containers through this program
Point2Point Kane County is an organization offering harm reduction, including needle exchange, to people living with drug addiction.
SHARPS IN THE TRASH
Please make every effort to use drop-off or mail in services for safe disposal of sharps. However, if these options are not workable, sharps can be disposed of in household trash if and only if they are packaged safely as described above. Please, never dispose of sharps in recycling bins and never dispose of sharps uncontained or loose in the trash.
Other Safety Tips
- Do not try to bend or recap needles with their covers as this can lead to an injury.
- You can save time and money by purchasing an inexpensive needle clipping device from pharmacies or online to safely clip, catch, and contain needles. The rest of the syringe can be put in the trash. These containers can store up to a two-year supply of needles.
- Do not use scissors to clip off needles, as the flying needle could hurt someone or become lost.
- Plan your sharps disposal when traveling, and bring used sharps home if no other safe disposal options exist.
- Keep containers away from children and animals.