Disposing of Sharps in Household Garbage Prohibited & Dangerous

Disposing of Sharps in Household Garbage Prohibited & Dangerous
Posted on 11/14/2011

The Village of Orland Park Public Works Department reminds residents that disposing of used sharps and syringes in household trash or recycling bins is against the law in Illinois. Incorrectly disposed sharps endanger the village's waste handlers from Waste Management and pose potential hazards to children, pets and others.

"We're reminding everyone to be aware of the importance of safely disposing of sharps and syringes," said Village Trustee Edward Schussler, chair of the village's Public Works Committee. "A number of alternatives are available and we ask that everyone who uses sharps at home be aware of their options," he said.

Household generated "sharps" include hypodermic needles, syringes, and lancets. They are typically used in the home for insulin injection or for administering medications to treat other chronic diseases such as allergies, arthritis, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis B, and HIV.
Managing and disposing of household generated sharps safely reduces pollution to the environment and prevents injury and disease transmission from needle-sticks. Needles or syringes should never be left on streets, in parks, or anywhere else where they could injure someone.

"The village's contracted waste hauler, Waste Management, has asked Orland Park to help spread the word because two of their drivers were recently affected by loose sharps thrown in with regular household trash," said Orland Park Public Works Director Ed Wilmes. "It's very important that everyone who uses sharps in their home dispose of them properly so that others aren't injured," Wilmes added.

Waste Management offers a variety of MedWaste Tracker sharps mail return products that enable patients to mail their used sharps to Waste Management for disposal. These products may be ordered on line through Waste Management's website at www.wm.com and searching for "home medical waste disposal services."

Oftentimes, medical facilities accept sharps from the community for disposal or residents may obtain sharps disposal containers from local pharmacies. These are usually available if patients receive their medications through the mail.

Residents should not store used sharps in glass bottles, soda bottles, milk jugs, aluminum cans or coffee cans. Containers with used needles or syringes should not be placed in recycling bins and loose sharps should never be placed in the garbage.

To safely dispose of used sharps in the State of Illinois, residents should participate in a mail-back program or use needle destruction devices that destroy needles after use.

Further information is available at www.safeneedledisposal.org.