Drugs & Medical Waste Disposal

Residential drugs/medical waste should be disposed of properly in your trash. Never place medical waste and Sharps/needles in your recycling bin. The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority FAQs page offers information on disposing of medications, needles, and other medical waste, or call LCSWMA at  (717) 397-9968.

PRESCRIPTION/OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS:  If no disposal instructions are given on the drug label, throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps:
  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers and crush and/or mix with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or kitty litter. This makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, and people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs.
  2. Place the mixture in a seal-able bag or container to prevent it from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
  3. Place the sealed container in your garbage bag and dispose with your trash. DO NOT flush drugs down the toilet or place in the recycle bin. 

USED SHARPS/NEEDLES: “Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Examples of Sharps include needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors, infusion sets, and connection needles.

  • Dispose of used Sharps/Needles safely and properly!  Always use a Safe Clip™.  Contact the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority at (717) 397-9968 to obtain a free Safe Clip™ — a portable device that clips and stores up to 1500 needles. Safe Clips™ are also available at most pharmacies for purchase. Once full, the device may be placed in your regular trash (NEVER recycling).
  • DO NOT USE drink cans, plastic food boxes, detergent bottles, or any other hard-plastic container. Those containers will burst open when compressed in garbage trucks making workers vulnerable to needle sticks.
  • Used Sharps and needles are dangerous to people and pets; they can injure and/or spread infections that cause serious health conditions. NEVER place loose needles in your trash, and NEVER in the recycling bin.