For people with chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease, treatment sometimes involves self-injection of medication. When it comes time to dispose of your needle or other sharps, it’s important that you do so safely.

What are Sharps?

“Sharps” is a medical term used to describe devices with edges or sharp points that can puncture the skin. Examples include needles, syringes, lancets and auto-injectors, among others.

Dispose of Your Needle in a Sharps Container Immediately After Use

To reduce the risk of cuts, punctures or needle sticks, place your needle in a sharps disposal container immediately after use. Never throw loose needles or other sharps in the trash or recycling bin. Do not attempt to remove the needle without a needle clipper.

Your sharps container should be kept in a safe place out of reach of children or pets. Used needles that are not disposed of safely can cause injury and spread infections.

Proper Sharps Containers

You can find FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers through healthcare providers, medical supply companies and online. Sharps containers are also available through pharmacies. If you’re an Alphascript patient, contact us for a complimentary container so you can safely dispose of your needles.

Guidelines vary by community, but some places allow for using other heavy-duty plastic household containers, like laundry detergent bottles, to dispose of needles. According to the FDA, all sharps containers should be:

  • Made of heavy-duty plastic,
  • Able to close with a puncture-resistant lid that fits tightly,
  • Upright during use,
  • Leak-resistant, and
  • Properly labeled (warning of hazardous waste inside the container).

Disposing of Your Sharps Container

The rules and regulations for proper sharps container disposal vary among states and localities. When your sharps container is three-quarters full, follow your community guidelines for proper disposal. To learn about the guidelines for your state, visit

If you are in San Mateo county, you can find sharps disposal sites here

For more information about how to safely use sharps at home, at work or while traveling, visit the FDA.

Disposing of Other Medication

For information about how to dispose of your other prescription or over-the-counter medication, view our blog post. If you have other questions about how to properly dispose of sharps or other medication, talk to your Alphascript pharmacist.