Sharps: Syringe Needles and Razor Blades

  • Put hypodermic, surgical, suture, or IV needles, syringes with needles, lancets, scalpels, blades and similiar metallic sharp or pointed items for disposal that are capable of causing punctures, cuts or tears in skin or membrane into yellow sharps containers which can be purchased through Medstores.
  • Razor blades and needles used in Biological, Chemical or Radioactive work are collected separately. Sterilization, disinfection or decontamination of needle and blade waste may be required prior to disposal.
  • Filled containers must be closed by securing the attached cap over the top opening.

Biologically Contaminated Sharps

  • According to the principles of universal blood and body fluid precautions, all needles and blades used in medical care, diagnosis, and research, including the manipulation and care of laboratory animals, should be considered potentially infectious. Needles and blades pose a risk to those who use them and needle and blade waste may pose a health risk to those involved in its handling, transportation, and disposal.
  • If the needle and blade waste is contaminated with or contains viable biological agents, it must be treated to inactivate the biological agents. The filled container may be steam sterilized along with other laboratory waste. Steam sterilization is generally not recommended for laboratory waste contaminated with or containing a combination or mixture of viable biological agents and significant amounts of hazardous chemical or radioactive materials. These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Hazardous Waste Technicians at 416-946-3473.
  • Chemical disinfection of needle and blade waste is generally not recommended since it requires additional handling, increasing the potential risk of injury.
  • Put autoclaved sharp containers with other autoclaved biological waste.

Radioactively Contaminated Sharps

  • Needle and blade waste containing trace radioactive materials must be collected in a yellow sharps container. All liquids containing radioactive material must be drained from the disposable syringes and collected for appropriate disposal.
  • Autoclaving of the sharps may be required if any of the needle and blade waste is contaminated with viable biological agents. Needle and blade waste contaminated with significant quantities (any quantity greater than listed for select isotopes in Table 2 Column E of radioactive materials must be disposed as radioactive waste.
  • Environmental Health Safety will provide containers for sharps contaminated with significant quantities of radioactive materials. Contact EPS at 416-978-2050 prior to starting any work for container drop off.
  • The liquids must still be drained from the syringes and must be placed into the provided plastic container.
  • Do not overfill or force waste into the container.
  • The collected waste must not interfere with the installation of the lid.
  • The container must be clearly labelled to indicate that it contains radioactive needle and blade waste. The activity, isotope, solvent, date and permit number should be indicated on the waste tag.
  • The yellow containers will be picked up with other radioactive waste.
  • Call Environmental Health & Safety at 416-978-2050 for pick up. For more information see webpage

Chemically Contaminated Sharps

  • Drain all liquids containing hazardous chemicals from disposable syringes and decontaminate all sharps in accordance with the procedures outlined in the chemical's Material Safety Data Sheet, prior to disposal. Environmental Protection Service may be consulted for further chemical deactivation procedures.
  • Put sharps into the yellow container.
  • Filled containers must be closed by securing the attached cap over the top opening.
  • Call the Hazardous Waste Technicians at 416-978-4821 for pickup of containers with chemically contaminated needles and blades.