Sharps Waste Disposal Instructions

This is a general information page about sharps and how to properly dispose of them. Please consult our Guidelines for the Safe Handling of Sharps.

Definition of a sharp:

"Sharps" are defined as an object or device with a sharp point or edge which can cut or puncture skin. Sharps include (but are not limited to):

  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Razor blades
  • Lancets - also known as "fingerstick" devices
  • Infusion sets

Broken glassware, glassware with sharp edges, pasture pipettes and glass slides are also considered a sharps IF they have been contaminated with medical or biohazardous materials. Un-contaminated broken glassware should be placed inside a broken glass bin. Housekeeping is responsible for removing these bins from the laboratories.
If you are unsure if an item is considered a sharp, please consult your supervisor or contact EHS.

Sharps Disposal:

All sharps should be placed in an appropriate sharps containers (see examples below). Sharps containers are puncture proof on all sides and leak proof on the sides and bottom. A sharps container must always remain in an upright position at all times.

When placing a sharp into a container, care must be taken to ensure that there is no possibly way anyone will get cut or punctured by the waste once it is in the container. Needles should not be recapped, bent, sheared, broken, or removed from disposable syringes or otherwise manipulated by hand prior to disposal.


Sharps Containers

When the sharps container is full, please close the top and activate the locking mechanism. The sharps container cannot be opened again after the locking mechanism has been activated. The full sharps containers will then be removed by EHS after a pick up request is made.

Requesting a Pick-Up:

Once your waste is ready for pick up, please fill out the Biohazard Waste Pick Up Request form. This form will ask several questions. You will need to know:

  • the laboratory PI or Principle Investigator (the person who is in charge of the lab)
  • who is filling out the form and their contact information
  • the building and room where the waste is located
  • the type and amount of waste you are disposing (i.e. tub, bag or sharp container)

At the end of the form is a comments section. This can be used for any special requests or information. Some examples of information to put into the comments section is, if your lab has limited access, if the waste is located in a hidden location (under a bench, behind a door, in a cell culture room) or other questions or concerns.

After you submit the form, it will be sent electronically to several members of EHS and someone will remove the materials - usually within hours, but in can take up to three working days. EHS DOES NOT replace sharps containers. Each individual lab must purchase these items.

If your waste is not removed within 3 working days please contact the EHS office at 8-1081 or

For more information on sharps, please consult our Guidleines for the Safe Handling of Sharps.

Last modified: Feb 04, 2016