Several ways to dispose of used needles

How do you dispose of used needles and syringes?

Used needles and other medical sharps — syringes, lancets, auto-injectors — can be thrown out with the household trash. But you should take some precautions before doing so.

The state Health Department recommends that you sequester used needles in a red sharps container or a rigid, leak- and puncture-resistant, heavy-duty plastic container with a tight-fitting cap, such as a laundry detergent or fabric softener jug.

When the container is about three-fourths full, seal it and wrap duct tape around the cap. Mark the container with the words “Sharps” and “Do Not Recycle” to alert others to its contents.

Other options include needle-mail-back programs run by drugmakers, along with commercial needle-disposal services.

For more information, contact your doctor, pharmacy or health unit or call Safe Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643.

Some do’s and don’ts of sharps disposal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:


Immediately put used sharps in disposal containers.

Carry portable disposal containers when you travel.

Keep sharps and disposal containers away from children and pets.

Ask health insurers if they cover sharps-disposal containers.


Don’t throw loose sharps in the trash.

Don’t flush sharps down the toilet.

Don’t put sharps in recycling bins.

Don’t try to remove, break or recap others’ needles.

Don’t try to remove needles without needle clippers.


Panel can forfeit pay of absent members

Do police jurors with their tax-paid salaries get paid even though they miss their regularly scheduled meetings?

Louisiana R.S. 33:1233 allows police juries to pay up to $50 a day, along with mileage, to members or a monthly salary of up to $1,600 to regular panelists and as much as $2,000 to panel presidents. 

“In the event that the police jury elects to go on a salary basis, a police juror who does not attend regular, special, or committee meetings of the police jury may be required to forfeit the sum of twenty-five dollars of said salary for each nonattendance without reasonable excuse. …,” reads the statute.

“The police jury, by majority vote in open session, may determine on an individual basis whether a member had a reasonable excuse for nonattendance at any regular, special or committee meeting of the police jury.”


The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email


Ask health insurers if they cover sharps-disposal containers.