Fact Sheet - Disposal of Needles, Syringes, Other Sharps and Broken Glass
The term “sharps” refers to needles, syringes, scalpel blades, lancets, disposable medical instruments, broken glass and similar devices or materials with the potential to cut or puncture an individual as they are sent through the waste stream.
Needles, Syringes and Other Sharps
Used needles, syringes and other sharps must be placed into rigid, red plastic sharps containers. Needles should not be removed from syringes. Do not cut, bend or recap needles. This policy applies to ALL needles and syringes, whether (a) used or unused, (b) used together or separately, (c) used with blood or (d) used for any other purpose. Approved sharps containers may be obtained from UK Stores (stock number 6515-5265). When the container is full, secure the lid. (Don’t overfill containers and risk getting stuck!) Containers must be disposed of as medical waste—whether contaminated or not—and never placed in the regular trash. Contact Environmental Management if you need assistance disposing of medical waste in your area.
Broken Glass and Laboratory Glassware
ALL broken glass must be placed into a separate waste container. Never place broken glass into the regular trash container. The waste glass container itself will be disposed of along with the broken glass. Acceptable containers for broken glass include small (1 to 2 cu. ft.) cardboard boxes with plastic liners, empty plastic paint cans, or any similar puncture-proof, leak-resistant containers. Cardboard boxes made especially for broken glass may be obtained from UK Stores (stock numbers: 5121-1797 large box; 5121-1798 small box; 5121-1801 plastic liner large; 5121-1803 plastic liner small). Waste glass containers should be labeled “Caution--Broken Glass.” When full, put the top on the container and secure with tape. Custodians will place the whole container into the general waste stream.
ALL laboratory glassware—whether broken or unbroken—must be disposed of as described above. This applies to all glass items from medical, research and teaching labs and includes containers, pipettes, tubing, glass slides, cover slips, etc.
Glassware which may be contaminated with infectious agents should first be autoclaved or chemically disinfected, and then disposed of as above.