Needles and Sharps

Alternative ways to recycle
Illegal in Garbage & Drains
Hazardous Waste

As of a 2008 California law, it is illegal to dispose of sharps waste in the trash or recycling.

How to Dispose of Sharps Waste 
1. Purchase an approved bio-hazard sharps container from a local pharmacy or utilize a state-approved mail-back service. 

2. Drop off sharps at a collection facility. 
REMEMBER: Sharps must be transported in an approved bio-hazard container. 

Where do I purchase an approved bio-hazard container? 

Rite Aid Pharmacy
11230 Donner Pass Road | (530) 587-5296
Map & Directions

CVS Drug Store & Pharmacy
11411 Deerfield Drive | (530) 587-5775
Map & Directions

Tahoe Forest Pharmacy
10956 Donner Pass Road | (530) 587-7607
Map & Directions

Where do I drop off my sharps for free disposal? 

Eastern Regional Landfill accepts home-generated sharps waste from area residents free of charge. Sharps must be delivered in an approved bio-hazard sharps container Tuesday – Saturday 8am – 4pm.

Tahoe Forest Pharmacy accepts sharps waste only from their patients. Return your sharps waste when refilling your prescription.

Where do I locate a certified mail-back service provider?

The following mail-back services are authorized for use in California by the California Department of Public Health. Note that many of these services provide mail back kits, which is a simple way to manage all of your home-generated sharps waste.

EnviroMed Safety & Compliance | (877) 340-2430

XMED Disposal, Inc. | (866) 735-9709

GRP & Associates | (800) 207-0976

Medasend, Inc. | (800) 200-3581

Sharps Compliance, Inc. | (800) 772-5657

Stericycle, Inc.

WCM | (866) 436-9264


Do Not Recap

Do not put needle caps back on needles to avoid injuring yourself from needle pricks.

Never Throw Away

Do not throw needles or sharps in the trash in order to protect sanitation workers, trash haulers, friends and family from needle pricks. Needle pricks put them at risk of infection and injury.


Use Only Sharps Containers for Disposal

To dispose of needles and sharps, place them in sharps containers and bring them to a designated sharps disposal facility.


What Is Considered a Sharp?

All of the following must be disposed of as sharps waste: hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to break the skin of people and animals.

Alternative Ways to Recycle

Mail-Back Programs for Injectable Pharmaceuticals

Mail used sharps and pens back to the manufacturer of injectable pharmaceuticals. The following manufacturers accept sharps waste generated from their products: Cimzia® (UCB), Enbrel® (Amgen)Humera® (AbbVie)Neulasta® (Amgen)Novo NordiskOrencia® (Bristol-Myers) and Simponi® (Janssen Biotech, Inc.).


Stericycle® Mail Service for Home Sharps

Stericycle runs a sharps container mail-back service for small quantity generators of waste. They include bar-coded waste shipping containers, prepaid and pre-addressed shipping labels and prepaid disposal and tracking. Find out more.


Republic Services Mail-Back Service

Republic Services offers a mail-back service for managing home-generated medical waste. Find out more.


MedPro Mail-Back Disposal

MedPro offers various sizes of mail-back sharps disposal systems, starting with 1.2 gallon containers. All containers are mailed to recipients via USPS with a prepaid return slip and proof of destruction manifest. Find out more.

GRP Mail-Back Sharps Container

GRP and Associates offer a mail-back sharps disposal service. They will mail you a sharps container, which you package and mail-back to them. Find out more.

Ways to Reduce


Return Unused Sharps to a Needle Exchange Program

Instead of dropping off unopened sharps at a disposal facility, consider taking them to a needle exchange program. Find the nearest program.

Did You Know?

How Sharps Affect Sanitation Workers

Disposing of sharps isn’t always convenient. At the same time, sharps in the trash and recycling pose a huge health risk to sanitation workers. If workers come across a needle hidden in trash, they can get struck and have to wait up to a year to know if they’ve contracted a blood-borne virus, such as hepatitis B.