Disposal of hypodermic needles, broken glass, etc.

UNB Reference Number: 7828
Authorized by: E. Parr Johnston, President,
Effective Date: (Original Policy Dec. 1/78)
Revised: September 1998
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To ensure that all users of items which may break the skin when contacted meet the requirements for safe handling and disposal.


In addition to the obvious hazard posed by regular glass, puncture wounds resulting from laboratory glass and "sharps" can increase exposure to chemical and infectious agents. Sharps include syringes and hypodermic needles, scalpel blades and clinical glass. Needle stick injury may result in increased risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens, such as Hepatitis B and HIV.


The disposal of sharps shall meet the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment "Guidelines for the Disposal of Biomedical Waste in Canada".


  1. Broken glass, fluorescent lighting tubes, sharps and other material likely to cause injury shall not be disposed of in regular garbage containers.
  2. Separate waste containers shall be provided for broken glass, laboratory glass or lighting tubes and placed in the building's designated area for disposal.
  3. Laboratory glass shall not be recycled due to the possibility for chemical residue. Chemical bottles shall be rinsed of any chemical contamination; labels removed or defaced; evaporated in a fumehood; and placed uncapped in the building's designated area for disposal.
  4. All sharps from clinics and laboratories shall be collected in disposable CSA Standard containers which are yellow or red in colour and display the international biohazard symbol. Regular glass waste containers shall not be used for sharps. For disposal of sharps, complete the University Hazardous Waste Disposal Form and forward it to Campus Safety.
  5. Sharps containers shall contain liquid disinfectant and be disposed of frequently. Autoclaving of filled sharps containers is not recommended.
  6. The recapping of needles is prohibited. Needles shall not be clipped, bent or broken. Sharps shall not be retrieved from containers.
  7. Clinical items contaminated with human blood or body fluids shall be disposed of in the sharps containers. Blood and body fluids shall be disposed of via sanitary sewer.
  8. Sharps contaminated with nuclear substances shall be decontaminated or stored for radioactive decay prior to disposal in sharps containers.
  9. Individuals who self-administer injections for medical reasons shall collect syringes and hypodermic needles in rigid, leak-proof containers which are sealed and disposed of through their physician or pharmacist.

For additional information on the handling and disposal of objects which may cause puncture wounds, contact the Safety Office.