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Throwing away sharp objects safely


Parents and other caregivers often use sharp objects, such as needles and syringes, to care for sick children at home. If these sharp objects are not thrown away safely, they can cause injury, illness, and pollution. Follow the simple steps listed below to throw away sharp objects safely.

How to throw away sharps

  • Throw away all needles, syringes, lancets, and other sharp objects in a hard-plastic or metal container. It should have a lid that screws on or fits tightly. The white hard-plastic bottle with a screw-on lid from Central Sterile Supply (CSS) is perfect for sharp objects.
  • When the container is ½ to ¾ full, put on the lid tightly. You can now put the sealed container in your trash can.
  • You can also use a coffee can to dispose of sharp objects. Before throwing the can away, you must cover the plastic lid with heavy-duty tape, such as duct tape. This makes it stronger. It will stop sharp objects from sticking through the plastic lid.
  • Do not put sharp objects in glass or clear-plastic containers.
  • Do not put sharp objects in any container that will be recycled or returned to a store.
  • Keep containers with sharp objects out of the reach of young children.

How to throw away other supplies

Throw away soiled bandages, disposable sheets, and medical gloves in plastic bags. Close these bags well before you put them in the garbage can with your other trash.


To learn more about throwing away sharp objects or other items used for patient care, talk to your child’s nurse, doctor, or pharmacist. If you are inside the hospital, dial 0. In the local area, call 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833).


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).