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Sharps / Syringes / Needles


Residential sharps (ie. needles, syringes, lancets) generated from households are considered general household waste in Illinois.

Improper disposal of home-generated medical waste poses a potential health hazard to many, including family members, sanitation workers, people in the community, hotel housekeeping, staff and school personnel. Although rare, diseases as serious as Hepatitis B & C and AIDS can result from accidental needle sticks. The Illinois EPA, Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) Section encourages the following safer disposal methods.​

See the IEPA fact sheet​ on sharps disposal options.​
See this website​ to search by zipcode for drop-off locations.


There are actually very few drop off programs nationally and none currently in Kane County. The industry is working towards future opportunities in that area. Please​ follow these instructions for safe disposal, or subscribe to one of the mail in programs below.

puncture-proof sharps container

Please follow these instructions for Safe Disposal of Needles:

  1. Use a puncture-proof sharps container which can be purchased at pharmacies. Alternatively hard plastic household containers, which should be unbreakable and puncture resistant, may be used. We recommend a laundry detergent bottle. No milk jugs or coffee cans.
  2. Sharps should be placed in the sharps container immediately after use.
  3. Put sharps in point-first.
  4. Store sharps in closed container with the cap screwed on until disposal.
  5. Containers more than half-full should be disposed of. Do not cram them full.
  6. Clearly​ label container “SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE” with a bold marker.
  7. When the container is half full, tape lid on securely with duct tape and place in trash.

Mail in Programs and Events

Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful sponsors unused medicine collection events. Check on their website for dates.

MedPro Disposal provides low cost medical waste disposal services to hospitals, clinics, dentists, funeral homes, casinos, schools and colleges, veterinarians and animal shelters, jails and prisons.
888-641-6131 ​

North American Syringe Exchange Network safely exchanges used needles for new needles.

Sharps Compliance is a provider of sharps disposal by mail solutions for sharps generated in the home as well as medical professionals such as doctors, dentists and veterinarians. Systems include a sharps collection container for safe containment and a pre-paid return shipping box for environmentally responsible treatment of the sharps waste.

Stericycle Mailback Program in Lake Forest, IL, provides expert sharps disposal services and containers to thousands of hospitals, private practices, and home users of sharps.

Waste Management has containers for purchase through MedWaste Tracker System, Think Green from Home, which include:

  • sharps container - for syringes, 1.4Q holds 140 pin-needles or 754 1cc needles for $45 or 3.3Q holds 350 pin-needles or 150 1cc needles for $55
  • postal authorized return system
  • prepaid postage return
  • environmental treatment and disposal
  • documentation of disposal

Other safe disposal tips

  • Do not try to bend or recap needles with their covers as this can lead to an injury.
  • You may also purchase an inexpensive needle clipping device from pharmacies or online which will safely clip, catch, and contain the needles. Then toss the syringe into the waste. 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.
  • When traveling, bring your used syringes home. Pack them in a heavy duty holder, such as a hard plastic pencil box, for transport.
  • For more information on how to dispose of a full sharps container, contact your doctor’s office, pharmacy, or hospital to see if they accept sharps containers. Also ask a diabetes educator about local sharps disposal containers.
  • Keep containers away from children and animals.