Sharps disposal regulations clarified
LONGMEADOW – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recently issued a clarification of its regulations regarding the disposal of syringes and other sharps used by residents. These regulations require disposal of sharps generated by residents as medical waste.
Many residents have been clipping off the needle section of syringes and disposing only this needle section as medical waste. They have then mistakenly been disposing the plastic barrel of the syringe in their regular household trash, which is picked up at curbside for disposal.
According to a recent advisory of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health both the needle and the plastic barrel of a syringe must be disposed of as medical waste. However it remains allowable to first detach the needle section with needle clippers in order to maximize the amount of waste that can fit in medical waste containers (i.e. “red boxes”).
Also, if needle clippers are used, such devices must also be disposed of as medical waste when their internal storage drawers (for clippings) are filled.
The Town of Longmeadow is continuing with its standing policy of not “taking-back” medical waste generated by household use. The Town has adopted a mail-in system for household medical waste disposal. Medical waste containers together with pre-paid mailing boxes to ship these containers to medical waste disposal facilities are sold, at cost, by the Board of Health Nurse at her Greenwood Center Health Office and at the Town Department of Public Works Offices, Pondside Drive, during regular business hours.
For further information, please feel free to call Carol Steiner, R.N., Board of Health Nurse, at 565-4154.
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