For immediate release by:
David A. Papi, Director-Health Officer
Middlesex County Public Health Department
September 18, 2009   
John Dowd, HERC
Middlesex County Public Health Department



Public Health Department Announces Syringe Disposal Program for Home-Generated Medical Waste


 SEPT. 17, 2009 – Middlesex County Freeholder Ronald G. Rios, chair of the Public Health and Safety Committee, announced tonight the Safe Household Disposal of Syringes program, which provides ways for residents to safely dispose of home-generated medical waste such as needles syringes and lancets.

 “If sharps are not thrown away properly, a public hazard can be created,” Freeholder Rios said. “Uncapped syringes and those that have not been placed in a safe container pose risks to both household members and solid waste personnel.”

Freeholder Rios added: “This program also will benefit residents who may have difficulty travelling to a hospital, whether they have no transportation or are homebound because of a disability.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 8 million people in the United States use more than 3 billion needles, syringes and lancets (also called sharps) to manage medical conditions at home. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) states home generators of medical waste may account for the use of up to 700,000 sharps daily in New Jersey.
Three ways to dispose of needles properly in order to markedly reduce potential exposure and needle stick risks are:

  1. Hospital Safe Syringe Disposal Program
  2. Household Waste Program
  3. Physician Program


1.  Hospital Safe Syringe Disposal Program
Residents can obtain a free sharps container from a hospital that participates in the program.  When the container is full, residents can bring it back to the hospital and a new one will be provided.
Participating area hospitals are:

For additional hospitals please download the Safe Syringe Disposal Guide at:

2.  Household Waste Program
Residents can safely dispose of syringes in their household trash by utilizing the Household Waste Program method. The method consists of four steps:

  1. Obtain a rigid container
  1. Label the container
  1. Seal the container
  1. Dispose of the container

3.  Physician Program

Residents also can ask their physicians if they will take used syringes once they are properly placed in a container.

Freeholder Rios concluded: “It is important to dispose of household medical waste properly.  Residents can help to prevent needle stick accidents that can hurt people, pets, and wildlife; save money for the community by reducing waste disposal costs; and keep the environment safe and clean.”

For additional information about this program please contact the Middlesex County Public Health Department at 732-745-3100.