Washington State University

REV 11-94
Environmental Health and Safety

Disposal of Sharps

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To prevent injuries to refuse collection and recycling personnel, those who use sharps are to follow the disposal precautions indicated below.


Sharps include, but are not limited to, hypodermic syringes and needles, cannulas, scalpels, razor blades, and lancets. Dispose of broken plastic, glass pipettes, and glass capillary tubes separately.


Questions on disposal methods should be directed to Environmental Health and Safety at 335-3041.

Radioactive Materials

These procedures apply only to nonradioactive material. For disposal procedures of sharps exposed to radioactive material, contact the Radiation Safety Office at 335-8916.


Place all used sharps (i.e., hypodermic syringes and needles, cannulas, scalpels, razor blades, and lancets) into a Horizontal Entry Sharps Container marked with a biohazard label.

Ordering Container

Horizontal Entry Sharps Containers may be purchased from University Stores. These containers are described in the University Stores Catalog as "Collector, Biohazard (Sharps)." The available sizes and catalog numbers are as follows:

4 quart #51244
8 quart #51245
5 gallon #50053

Fill Container

Fill the disposal sharps container up to the butterfly closure base.

Do not overfill the container thus preventing the butterfly closure vanes from automatically closing.

Do not recap needles on syringes after use.

Do not separate needles from syringes prior to disposal.

Needle cutting prior to discarding is no longer permitted. The action of cutting the needle can cause aerosol contamination of personnel as well as the surrounding surface with residual infectious, toxic, or carcinogenic materials.

Seal Container

Seal the top of the container and place a polyethylene (plastic) bag around the entire sharps container. Place the bagged sharps container into a cardboard box. Place a biohazard label on the box exterior. Seal the cardboard box with tape.

Label Box

Include the following information on the box label:

Replace Container

Obtain replacement container(s) from University Stores. Ensure that a replacement sharps container is available in the laboratory at all times.


Take the taped and labeled boxes to one of the following locations for temporary storage until collected by Facilities Services, Operations personnel. (NOTE: If none of the following locations is convenient, contact Facilities Services, Operations to arrange alternative pickup procedures.)

Bustad Hall

Leave boxes in room 155-H (SE corner, inside the roll-down door to the loading dock).

Eastlick Hall

Give the boxes to the scientific instructional technician in room G-66A for placement in room G-63.

Experimental Animal Lab

Leave boxes on the east loading dock.

Food and Human Nutrition

Contact 335-4016 for information and location.

Fulmer Hall

Give boxes to the chemical stores clerk in Fulmer Annex 23 (next to the loading dock).

Johnson Hall

Leave boxes in room 65 (next to the north interior wall).

Johnson Tower

Place boxes in the cooler on the loading dock.

Laboratory Animal Resource Center (L.A.R.C.)

Place boxes inside the northwest loading dock by the interior double doors, next to the west wall.

McCoy Hall

Place boxes inside green, locked metal storage cabinet #1 bolted to the building on the north end of the west loading dock. Contact the central services manager in room 150 for the key.

Wegner Hall

Place boxes inside room 138 along the southeast wall. Contact the scientific stores technician in room 334.


Facilities Services, Operations personnel regularly collect taped and labeled boxes from the designated pickup points and dispose of them separately from other refuse. Contact Facilities Services, Operations (335-9000) if special or additional box pickup is required.

Collection of materials is not scheduled for weekends or University holidays.