How to Store and Dispose of Medical Sharps (also called needles, syringes or lancets)
Medical sharps are used in many homes to administer medications, such as allergy shots and insulin and to monitor physical states such as blood sugar levels. By law, sharps are bannedfrom the trash. Never place medical sharps, such as disposable hypodermic needles, syringes and lancets in the trash or recycling container. Click here for information flyer (.pdf).
To properly store medical sharps prior to disposal:
Place in a rigid, hard plastic or metal container with a screw-on or tight-fitting lid, such as a plastic laundry detergent container or coffee can. The container should be puncture-resistant and leak proof. Milk containers are not puncture resistant. Once the container is full, close the lid tightly and seal it with duct tape. Mark the container very clearly "SHARPS."
Containers specifically made for sharps storage can be purchased at pharmacies or medical supply stores. Some Goodwill Stores distribute sharps containers for free. Click here for a listing (.pdf).
To properly dispose of medical sharps:
Medical sharps are a hazardous waste that cannot be disposed with regular trash. Take to a hazardous waste drop off event or permanent hazardous waste facility. Click here for information on hazardous waste events and drop-off sites. For sharps drop-off sites that also distribute free sharps containers, click here.
There is also an option for mail-back services, but there may be a charge, so please contact them. Click here for the list of sharps mail-back providers.
L.A. County Sheriff's Department has drop-off locations for medical sharps and all drugs and medicines. Click here to go to their website or click here for a .pdf listing of locations.
Never place sharps in your trash or recycling containers.
For more information, please contact the City of Torrance Public Works Department at 310-781-6900.
Thank you for your cooperation.