Student Disposal of Personal-Use Needles and Syringes

Disposal of sharps (e.g., needles and syringes) at state institutions including Illinois falls under specific medical waste regulations defined by the Illinois EPA. Compliance is outlined in the Illinois Campus Administrative Manual. Students at Illinois who use sharps for medical reasons are required to dispose of those sharps in accordance with those regulations and the campus sharps program. Students should know about use and disposal guidelines of personal-use needles and syringes. 

  • Students using needles and syringes who live in university-owned housing must participate in the campus sharps disposal program.
  • Disposal of needles and syringes from private households are exempt from these regulations (see section below).
  • Students that live in private housing are not eligible to participate in the campus sharps disposal program.
  • In all situations, needles should be handled and disposed of in a manner that protects other household members, building service workers, waste handlers, and the general public from accidental needlesticks.

University-owned housing

If you reside in any of the following facilities and need to dispose of needles and/or syringes, you should participate in the campus sharps program: 

Undergraduate Hall

  • Busey-Evans
  • Florida Avenue
  • Ikenberry Commons (North and South) 
  • Illinois Street
  • Lincoln Avenue
  • Pennsylvania Avenue 
  • Unit One/Allen Hall

Graduate Hall

  • Daniels
  • Sherman

Apartment Complexes

  • Orchard Downs
  • Goodwin-Green 
  • Ashton Woods

Participation in the campus sharps program

Participation in the program is easy, and waste containers are free: 

  • Pick up an approved 1-quart or 2-gallon sharps disposal container from the laboratory reception desk at McKinley Health Center.
  • Place needles and/or syringes into the container immediately following use. 
  • Do not overfill or force sharps into the container.
  • When full, lock the lid in place and return the container to the laboratory at McKinley. 

Sharps disposal containers are only for items defined as sharps. Other waste such as Band Aids or Kleenex should be disposed of in the regular trash. 

Disposal of needles and syringes from private housing

The Illinois EPA provides the following recommendations for disposal from private households: 

  • Obtain a sturdy, puncture-resistant container with a screw top, such as a detergent, bleach, or beverage bottle. 
  • Mark the container “Do NOT Recycle.” 
  • Place sharps into the container immediately after use. 
  • When the container is full or no longer needed, tape the cap securely closed. 
  • Put the container in the regular trash. 

    Last Update: 3/19/2014