Needles and Sharps

Alternative ways to recycle
Illegal in Garbage & Drains
Household Hazardous Waste Special Instructions

Safely Dispose of Your Sharps
In September of 2008, the State of California made it illegal to put sharps in the trash, recycling containers, or to flush down the toilet, in order to protect the health and safety of our health care providers and sanitation workers. Sharps are considered needles, syringes, and lancets.

Oceanside residents have several options for safe disposal of these types of materials. Sharps must be in a red biohazard container with a sealed top or in a see-through container like a water bottle or milk jug with the top taped.

Drop off needles and sharps at the Sharps Kiosk at the following facilities:

  • El Corazon Senior Center
    • 3302 Senior Center Dr, Oceanside, CA 92056
  • Country Club Senior Center
    • 455 Country Club Ln, Oceanside, CA 92054
  • Waste Management Buyback Center
    • 2880 Industry St, Oceanside, CA 92054
    • Tues – Sat,  8:00 am – 4:00 pm (closed 12:00pm-12:40pm for lunch)

Additionally, Waste Management’s MedWaste Tracker™ provides a safe needle disposal system for hypodermic needles, lancets, test strips, and other small quantity medical waste. Each system includes a specially designed sharps container and a postage-prepaid shipping container. Please visit for more information or to place an order.

If you have further questions about safe disposal of sharps, feel free to call Waste Management’s customer service line at (760) 439-2824 or email [email protected].


Do Not Recap

To avoid injuring yourself from needle pricks, do not put needle caps back on needles.

Never Throw Away

Do not throw needles or sharps in the trash. They put sanitation workers, friends and family at risk of needle pricks, which can cause 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: Enbrel® (Amgen)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. Visit Stericycle’s Mail Back Solutions page here.


Republic Services Mail-Back Service

Republic Services offers a mail-back service for managing home-generated medical waste. Visit


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. Visit MedPro’s sharps disposal page here.

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. Visit their page on sharps mail back here.

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, such as MedShare. 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, tetanus, HIV/AIDS or syphilis.