Household Sharps

By following these steps, you can protect the health of those who handle your solid waste and comply with Missouri solid waste management regulations.

What are sharps?

Sharps may include things like:

  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Staples
  • Glass tubes and bottles
  • IV catheters
  • Razors
  • Scissors
  • Knives

What to do if you are stuck by someone else's needle:

  • Wash the wound well with soap and water
  • Seek medical attention right away

If you have additional questions, call 417-864-1017 for more resources.

Make sure you are prepared to handle sharps:

  • As needles and sharps are generated, they should be stored in a safe, secure place out of the reach of children.
  • Sharps must be disposed of in a thick, leakproof and puncture-resistant plastic container (look for “HDPE 2” imprinted in the plastic) before putting it in your household waste.
  • A plastic liquid laundry detergent bottle or a one-gallon antifreeze jug is a good container for sharps. Manufactured sharps containers are also available from pharmacies.

How to safely dispose of sharps:

  • When placing your used sharps in the container, do not replace the protective cover over the needle or break the needle. This could expose you to the possibility of sticking yourself.
  • When the container is nearly full, add a solution of one part chlorine bleach and nine parts tap water. Wear gloves when handling bleach because it could damage your skin.
  • Carefully pour all the liquid down the drain. Holding the cap near the mouth of the container may prevent sharps from falling out. 
  • After all the liquid has been drained, reseal the container and wrap it with duct tape to prevent the cap from coming off. 
  • Write “SHARPS: Do Not Recycle” on the container so your waste handlers are aware of the contents.
  • Dispose of the container with your regular household waste. Advise your waste handler that you generate treated sharps so they take special care when they pick up your trash.


  1. What do I do if I find a needle outside my home?
  2. What are the health risks of an accidental needle stick?

What to do if you find a needle or other sharps outside your home:

  • Put on heavy duty gloves and use pliers or tongs to place it in a thick plastic container, like a laundry detergent bottle.
  • Screw on the lid and seal it well with duct tape to prevent the cap from coming off. 
  • Write “SHARPS: Do Not Recycle” on the container and throw it away in the regular trash.

Guidance for how to discard of a needle or sharp object