Household sharps like needles aren’t considered medical waste. However, you should dispose of them with utmost care. For your household’s safety, it’s imperative to follow states guidelines and recommendations about how sharps should be disposed of.

Usually, waste management departments require you to dispose of your sharps in disposal containers. But what happens when these containers aren’t available?  Do you just throw the sharps into the trash the way you do with kitchen waste? No, but there are safe ways to dispose of sharps without containers. Read on to learn about how you can do it.

1. Recapping

If you don’t have a sharps' container in which to put your used needles, you can recap them using a mechanical device or a one-hand technique. Store the recapped needles safely until you find a disposal container.

When recapping the needle, do it carefully to prevent it from bending or breaking. Besides, avoid removing a hypodermic needle from the syringe using your hand as this may result in punctures, cuts or needle sticks.

How to recap a needle using a one-hand technique

  • Place the needle cap on a table or any other flat surface.
  • Attach the needle to the syringe. Hold them in one hand and slip the needle into the cap.
  • Firmly push the capped needle against a flat surface. The cap will firmly sit on the needle.

2. Disposing of needles using needle clippers

You can dispose of your used needles using clippers. Clipping off the needles make them unusable especially when dealing with insulin syringes.

Once you clip off the needle, you can safely retain it in the clipper. Avoid clipping your needles with any tools except the needle clippers designed for the task.

3. Consult your local government for disposal guidelines

Please note that needles disposal guidelines vary based on communities. Therefore, check your community guidelines to determine the right disposal method.

4. Protect yourself and protect others

Disposing of needles without a sharps' container may seem easy, but it requires utmost care to ensure safety to your household. While you may not have a sharps' container to put your needles, you can improvise your bleach and laundry-detergent bottles to make them serve the purpose.

If you choose to create your own sharps containers from such bottles, label them clearly to facilitate easy identification. You can label the container as “Needles” or “Sharps.”

5. Dispose of the needles at a local healthcare facility

If you’ve got healthcare experts offering in-home care services at your household, ask them to take their needles back to their hospitals or clinics for proper management. You can also request a clinical waste collection from your local council.


Sharps are extremely hazardous if disposed of irresponsibly. Many people have fallen victims of sharps waste that have been placed in high-traffic areas without containers, where some have contracted infectious diseases like HIV alongside suffering painful pierces and cuts. Whether you’re disposing of your needles with or without sharps container, safety is the most essential thing you must strive to guarantee for yourself, your household and trash collectors.