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Disposal of Household Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) and "Sharps"
PIMW: Illinois has not created a formal policy on the disposal of syringes used by individuals at home. However, the Illinois EPA provides the following guidance. For those who need to dispose of PIMW, including used and unused syringes, needles, lancets, and other sharps, along with any animal waste, proper disposal methods should be used to avoid accidental injuries and/or infection to sanitation or janitorial workers or even members of one's own household.
- Collection/Drop-Off Sites - https://safeneedledisposal.org/ is a website with a search tool to help you find a location near you that accepts sharps for disposal. Currently, there are locations in the Chicago suburbs but none in the city of Chicago.
- Mail Back or Drop Off Return Programs - Sharps containers specifically designed for syringe/needle/lancet disposal can be purchased from a pharmacy or medical waste disposal company that include either a mail-in or drop-off return program. These are available at various pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS, or can be ordered online through various vendors, including Amazon.com.
When possible, the above sharps disposal methods are preferred over placing the sharps in a solid waste receptacle. If a person chooses to place PIMW in with his/her trash, the following guidelines help protect those who may come in contact with the waste:
- Place the medical waste in a sturdy, puncture-proof container such as a sharps container from the pharmacy, or an empty laundry detergent bottle.
- When the container is full, secure the lid and tape it in place using heavy duty packaging or duct tape.
- Using a permanent marker, write "Do Not Recycle" on the container and then place in the regular trash.
Unfortunately, you may not bring your PIMW to Family Pet for disposal, as our licensing restricts us to disposal of only the waste generated in our own facility.