Disposal of sharps (e.g., needles and syringes) at state institutions such as the University of Illinois falls under medical waste regulations defined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). Compliance requirements are outlined in the Illinois Campus Administrative Manual. U of I employees who use sharps for medical reasons are required to dispose of those sharps in accordance with those regulations and the campus sharps program. Employees should know about use and disposal guidelines for personal-use needles and syringes.

  • Employees using needles and syringes on campus must participate in the campus sharps disposal program; 
  • Disposal of needles and syringes from private households is exempt from these regulations (see section below);
  • In all situations, needles should be handled and disposed of in a manner that protects co-workers, building service workers, waste handlers, and the general public from accidental needlesticks.

Participation in the Campus Sharps Program 

Participation in the program is easy, and sharps disposal containers are free. 

  • Call 217-244-0139 or email Campus Stores to request a delivery of an approved 1-quart or 2-gallon sharps disposal container. Containers are usually delivered within three business days.
  • Place needles/syringes into the container immediately following use.
  • Do not overfill or force sharps into the container.
  • When full, lock the lid in place, and request a sharps pick-up from the Division of Research Safety. Containers are usually picked-up within three business days.

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 Updated: 8/21/2019