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Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

Syringes/needles “sharps”

Free home Sharps Containers

For residents

Free gallon and quart size sharps waste containers are now available at the Household Toxics Facility. Or, exchange your full sharps container for an empty container at a Community Toxics Collections event. Limit one container per household user, while supplies last.

These containers were purchased through a grant from The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Survey Medication & Needle Disposal link

Sonoma County Waste Management Agency is working to make it easier for residents to safely dispose of unwanted medication and needles.

To do this in the best possible way, your input is needed.

Please fill out this short 3-4 minute survey to let us know which disposal options would work best for you and to share your thoughts on this issue. Your answers are anonymous.

Also, please forward this link to other Sonoma County residents who might be interested in completing the survey.

Who do you think should pay for the safe disposal of medication and needles? What do you currently do with your unwanted medication and needles?

Resources for sharps

A Guide to Sharps Disposal

Una guía para la Eliminación de Objetos

California Products Stewardship Council

California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Coalition for Safe Needle Disposal

syringesIt’s illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps in the garbage.
Beginning on September 1, 2008, State law (Section 118286) of the California Health and Safety Code) made it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste in the trash or recycling containers.  The law also requires that all sharps waste be transported to a collection center in an approved sharps container. When thrown in the trash, sharps can injure sanitation workers.

Sharps include hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications used in the care of people and animals. Once the syringe is no longer with the needle and no longer capable of piercing the skin, it can be disposed in the garbage assuming it’s home-generated waste.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently only lists the "Disintegrator" as a needle destruction device approved for use by self-injectors. Do not attempt to remove, bend, break or recap the needle.  Also, note that empty medication vials can be disposed in the garbage.

Remember that:

  • Don't put sharps in soda cans, milk cartons, glass bottles or in any containers that are not puncture resistant. Coffee cans are not recommended because the plastic lids come off easily and may leak.
  • Syringes/needles must be in an FDA-approved sharps container. 
  • The only legal way to transport used sharps is in an FDA-approved sharps container.
  • The container must be labeled "Sharps."
  • Don't mix sharps with any other waste, including discarded medications or other pharmaceuticals.

1. Mail back disposal options: for residents
Use FDA-approved mail-back and safe syringe disposal containers. The following companies offer pre-paid return service programs. In addition, most pharmacies sell FDA-approved mail-back and safe syringe disposal containers.

EnviroMed Safety & Compliance:
(877) 340-2430

GRP Mail Back Sharps Disposal:
(800) 207-0976

Republic Services:
(855) 737-7871

Sharps Compliance:
(800) 772-5657

(800) 355-8773

WCM (Waste & Compliance Management):
(877) 436-5480

WM (Waste Management Healthcare Solutions): 
(866) 803-7561

XMED Disposal:
(866) 735-9709

2. Drop-off syringes/needles in an FDA-approved container at the following locations: for residents
Some offer syringe collection and disposal on-site for customers purchasing FDA-approved containers.

Asepsis Bio Group, Inc.:
(800) 593-2737
By appointment. Drop-off, pick up & fee.

Dollar Drug:
1055 W. College Avenue 
Santa Rosa  (707) 575-1313
Drop-off & fee.

Healdsburg District Hospital:
1375 University Street 
Healdsburg   (707) 431-6500

3. Dispose of sharps through the Agency's Hazardous Waste programs: for residents & businesses

For residents
Household Toxics Facility
Community Toxics Collections
Toxic Rover Pickup Service

For businesses
Household Toxics Facility
Community Toxics Collections

Sonoma County Waste Management Agency ● 2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-100 ● Santa Rosa, CA 95403