Needles and Sharps Illegal in Garbage, Recycling & Drains Hazardous Waste Needles and sharps must be placed in a biohazard container for disposal with other hazardous waste. They can be disposed of through the County Household Hazardous Waste Program. They can also be disposed of through these medication drop-off locations. Do Not Recap Do not put needle caps back on needles to avoid injuring yourself from needle pricks. Never Throw Away Do not throw needles or sharps in the garbage or recycling in order to protect sanitation workers, trash haulers, friends and family from needle pricks. Needle pricks put them at risk of infection and injury. Use Only Sharps Containers for Disposal To dispose of needles and sharps, place them in sharps containers and bring them to a designated sharps disposal facility. What Is Considered a Sharp? All of the following must be disposed of as sharps waste: hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to break the skin of people and animals. Ways to Reduce Return Unused Sharps to a Needle Exchange Program Instead of dropping off unopened sharps at a disposal facility, consider taking them to a needle exchange program. Find the nearest program. Did You Know? How Sharps Affect Sanitation Workers Disposing of sharps isn’t always convenient. At the same time, sharps in the trash and recycling pose a huge health risk to sanitation workers. If workers come across a needle hidden in trash, they can get struck and have to wait up to a year to know if they’ve contracted a blood-borne virus, such as hepatitis B.