The Best Way to Dispose of
Medications and Household Sharps
Safely Dispose of Unwanted Medications
Unwanted or unused prescriptions and over-the-counter
medicines can be found in almost every household and can
pose a safety hazard to children. MedDrop offers a safe and
secure way to dispose of unwanted medications. The next
MedDrop is being held on Saturday, October 2 from
9 am to 1 pm at the following locations:
Madison: LaFollette High School, 702 Pflaum Road
Middleton: Middleton High School, 2100 Bristol Street
Sun Prairie: Sun Prairie Recycling Center, 1798 S. Bird Street
If you live outside the areas listed above, please visit
www.meddropdane.org to locate a MedDrop location
Disposing of Household Sharps
As the number of home health care patients
rises, sharps (needles, syringes, and lancets)
are increasingly being mixed in with
household garbage and recyclables or
flushed down the toilet. These sharps pose a
health risk to garbage haulers and workers
in recycling facilities. To avoid injury and
reduce health risks follow these steps for
disposing of household sharps:
- If possible, clip the needle points with needle clippers, or recap or re-sheath discarded sharps to prevent needle sticks.
- Place the sharps in a rigid, puncture resistant container with a secure lid or cap. Acceptable containers include commercially available sharps containers or heavy plastic detergent or bleach bottles with screw caps. Unacceptable containers include coffee cans, plastic or paper milk jugs, plastic bags, pop cans, and glass or plastic bottles or jars.
- Visibly label the sharps container with your name and phone number as well as the words “biohazard”, “infectious waste,” or “sharps,” or with the biohazard emblem. It’s also a good idea to label the container with the words “Do Not Recycle” so that they are not accidentally included with recyclables.
- When the container is full, sealed, and labeled, store it out of reach of children and pets, and dispose of it properly. Do not put the container out with the trash or recyclables. Instead, take it to a registered sharps collection station such as a Dean pharmacy. Dean pharmacies are located in Madison at the Fish Hatchery, East and West clinics, as well as at the Oregon, Sun Prairie, Riverview-Janesville, and Medical Associates of Baraboo clinics, and at St. Mary’s Hospital. At all other Dean sites without pharmacies, sharps may be dropped off at the clinic’s laboratory.
For a registered sharps collection location near you, you can call
the DNR Waste Management Office at 608-266-2111 or the
Wisconsin American Diabetes Association at 888-342-2383.
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