FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do I get rid of my needles?
The best solution is to dispose of your sharps in a Zeedle, a specially designed kiosk that accepts sharps in either a sharps container; a puncture resistant, non see-through bottle (laundry detergent bottle, bleach bottle), or a taped sealed coffee can. Please see our list of sites for a Zeedle near you.
If a Zeedle is not near you please check your state laws to find the best way to dispose of your sharps or medication.
What can go in a sharps container?
All your used or unused needles can go in the container as well as any lancets and swabs containing blood. You may also put pen needles in a sharps container. Never put any medication in a sharps container.
MEDICATIONS SHOULD NEVER BE PLACED IN A SHARPS CONTAINER OR A SHARPS COLLECTION ZEEDLE. THERE ARE MEDICATION COLLECTION ZEEDLES WHERE MEDICATIONS ARE ACCEPTED.
What is a sharps container?
A sharps container is a container that is filled with used medical needles (and other sharp medical instrument like lancets). The container is extra thick plastic to prevent needle sticks and has a lid that snaps securely shut.
Can I use anything other than a sharps container?
Yes. You can use a puncture-resistant, non see-through container like a bleach or laundry detergent bottle. You can also use a taped sealed coffee can of metal or thick plastic.
DO NOT use any see through containers; such as a plastic soda bottle or glass container.
DO NOT use plastic or paper bags.
Where can I buy a sharps container?
Sharps containers can be purchased at most pharmacies or medical supply stores. Many of the Zeedle sites offer free sharps containers. Please check with your site to see what they have.
What do I do if I find a needle?
DO NOT pick the needle up with your hands. Call local police to see what their policy is on handling the situation.
If you must dispose of it yourself, you must first secure the area. Have someone stay with the needle while you get a sharps container, thick gloves, tongs or a scoop of some kind. Carefully use the tongs or scoop to put the needle in a sharps container. Seal properly and dispose in a Zeedle.
What do I do if I get stuck by a needle?
Call your doctor immediately.
Find out any information about the needle that you can.
How did you get the needle stick?
Do you know whom the needle belonged to?
What was the needle being used for?
Collect the needle properly. Check your state regulations to see what you need to do with the needle if there is no Zeedle collection kiosk available.
Can I put medication in a sharps container?
No. Sharps containers are for sharps only, not medication. The medication that is left in the needle is fine, but no other medications.
Where can I take my sharps container?
Take your full sharps container to a Zeedle near you, see List of Sites.
If there is not a Zeedle site near you, check with your local fire or police station to see if they collect needles.
If there is not a site near you, check your state regulations to see where you are supposed to dispose of your needles. If they do not have any recommendations, mark your sharps container as “Non-recyclable” and “sharps” and dispose in your regular trash. Never dispose of the sharps container in your recycling container.
Can I dispose of single needles in a Zeedle?
Zeedles are for sharps containers only. Never drop a single needle into a Zeedle. This is a hazard for the waste haulers who pick up the waste.
Who do I call if I find a needle?
Call your local fire department or police station to ask if they will come collect the needle. If they will not respond, refer to “What do I do if I find a Needle”
Can I flush my medication down the toilet?
It is best not to dispose of medications or needles down the toilet. The medication ends up in our water supply and that is not good for the environment or us.
Although some medications still say to flush unused medications down the drain, you should try an alternative method. See How to safely dispose of used medications.
How can I safely dispose of used medications?
Check your state regulations on residential medication disposal.
A medication only collection Zeedle disposal kiosk.
Check with your local police department to see if they are or know of a collection site.
If no site is near you, crush or grind your medication and add to coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put grounds/litter in a secure container, mark as “not recyclable” and put in your normal trash.
What do I do with my pets needles?
Your pets needles should be contained in a proper sharps container and can be deposited in a Zeedle. If there is not a Zeedle near you, refer to: “Where can I take my sharps container.”
Can a needle stick with an unknown needle make you sick?
Many viruses can be transmitted through a needle stick but the two that are most concerning are Hepatitis C and HIV.
Studies have found that the Hepatitis C virus can live up to 63 days in a high volume tuberculin syringe with a detachable needle, compared to 7 days in a low volume syringe such as a insulin syringe.
The HIV virus dies within several hours outside of the body because of inappropriate temperature, lack of a human host, and other factors. However, the virus can live for days or weeks if the optimal conditions are maintained.
Is it okay to break off the needle and throw it in the trash?
You should never break off the needle and throw in the trash. The whole needle should always be disposed of together in a sharps container.
Can I dispose of EpiPens in a Zeedle?
Yes, but it should first be placed in a sharps container or appropriate container.
I was told the site would not take my needles because they were in a plastic bag. Now what should I do?
Take the needles home and carefully transfer them into an appropriate container. Make sure that children and pets are not in the area and use gloves and clean your hands carefully after. You should never touch needles that are not yours.
Do I have to pay to dispose of my needles in a Zeedle?
Most sites are free to dispose of your needles. Check with your local site to see what they require.
Can I leave my sharps container outside the Zeedle if the door is locked?
Never leave your sharps container on top of a kiosk or anywhere around it. A child or pet could easily get a needle stick injury from an unattended sharps container.
Always inquire with an attendant to see if they can take your container and let them know the kiosk is full.