Sullivan County Issues Important Reminder About Safe SHARPS Disposal   

Monticello, NY – The Sullivan County Department of Solid Waste and Recycling reminds residents that injection needles, lancets and syringes (SHARPS) MUST be disposed of properly in order to protect people from unintentional needle sticks. 

Used sharps may hold residual blood infected by HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or Hepatitis B & C. Someone who accidentally gets cut or stuck by a used sharp could get infected from the blood.

New York State requires registered Article 28 Healthcare Facilities to accept (at no cost) properly packaged, unwanted, residentially generated medical SHARPS from households for safe disposal. The New York State Department of Health lists participating hospitals and nursing homes that accept home-generated sharps as a free community service:  https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/consumers/prevention/needles_syringes/sharps/

The Sullivan County Adult Care Center in Liberty participates in this program.  It is located at 256 Sunset Lake Road, Liberty. Acceptance hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the facility entrance.

In addition, some pharmacies, health clinics, community-based organizations and mobile van needle exchange programs may offer syringe collection drop boxes to help facilitate the safe collection of used sharps.  Prior to using other SHARPS disposal facilities, check with hospitals or nursing homes for appropriate instructions before transporting SHARPS for disposal.  Special SHARPS containers and hours of acceptance may be specified for these items as well.

Here are a few important reminders about SHARPS and proper needle disposal:

• Plastic containers used to hold SHARPS are NOT RECYCLABLE!  Do not place SHARPS containers in your recycling bin for any reason.
• Contact health care facilities BEFORE dropping off SHARPS. Special hours of acceptance and certain SHARPS containers may be required by these facilities prior to dropping off these items.
• Some doctors’ offices, veterinary practices, treatment clinics and pharmacies may accept SHARPS from their clients, but are not required to do so by law.  Please accept these conditions and find acceptable means to properly discard SHARPS.
• Medical waste, including SHARPS, scalpels, lancets and medical equipment used in conjunction with blood or bodily fluids by health care providers, is considered regulated medical waste and MUST be disposed of by the medical practice according to New York State Department of Health guidelines. 
• Needle exchange programs may be available in your community.  Please check with Sullivan County Public Health Services, 845-292-5910, for additional information.

“SHARPS should be disposed of properly to protect public health and the safety of solid waste and recycling workers,” advises District 7 Legislator and Public Works Committee Chairman Joe Perrello. “Our staff works hard in challenging conditions – let’s not make it any tougher on them.”

For additional information about household hazardous wastes, composting and recycling, please contact the Sullivan County Department of Solid Waste at 845-807-0290.