Needles and Syringes

Needle and blade waste includes hypodermic, surgical, suture or IV needles, syringes with needles, lancets, scalpels, blades and similar metallic sharp or pointed items for disposal that are capable of causing punctures, cuts, or tears in skin or membranes.

Per the universal precautions for exposure to blood and bodily fluids, 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 pose a health risk to those involved in its handling, transportation and disposal.

Needle and blade waste contaminated with or containing viable biological materials and trace amounts of hazardous chemical, singly or in any combination, can be collected together in the same yellow container for needle and blade waste. In most cases, the quantity of potentially hazardous material adhering to used needles and blades will be minimal and present in trace amounts only. All liquids containing hazardous chemical or radioactive materials must be drained from disposable syringes and collected for appropriate disposal.

All needle and blade waste for disposal must be carefully collected in an approved needle and blade waste container. Autoclavable plastic sharps containers must comply with CSA Standard Z316.6-14 for the collection and disposal of needle and blade waste generated at the University of Toronto. Their capacities range from 1.4 to 7.6 litres. These containers are available at the University of Toronto Medstore:

For more information regarding sharp waste management, please refer to the Laboratory Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal ManualSharp Waste Management