Safe Disposal of Needles, Syringes and Medications

To: UCSC Community

From: Diane Lamotte RPh, Student Health Services

Did you know that custodial and grounds staff find syringes and needles in the trash and in and around the grounds of UCSC and at off-site properties?

In an effort to protect our community and the environment, the UCSC Student Health Center Pharmacy provides for safe disposal of needles, syringes and medications.The pharmacy collaborates with the County of Santa Cruz Department of Public Works in the Sharps Solutions program which is free to the public.

The goal of the Sharps Solutions program is to improve the environment by sending fewer chemicals and sharps into sewers and landfills and the ocean.

The UCSC Student Health Center Pharmacy has a green medications collection bin in the pharmacy lobby for expired and unneeded medications.Items that would be allowed in the bin include unused and expired prescription medications, Over-the-Counter medications, vitamins, herbs, liquids, pet medications, samples, creams, lotions and ointments, inhalers etc.Injectable medications can also be tossed in however, if there are any needles and syringes or other household sharps such as lancets or scalpels, those must be disposed of in an approved sharps container - it’s the law.The pharmacy provides approved personal sharps containers free of charge to students who were prescribed injectable medications.Sharps containers are available for purchase at the UCSC Pharmacy as well as at any other pharmacy.The UCSC Student Health Center Pharmacy also has the ability to collect full personal sharps containers for secure, no charge disposal, through the Sharps Solutions program.The UCSC Pharmacy has installed a locked sharps container adjacent to the medication collection bin for anyone who needs to deposit single syringes and needles.

The Environmental Health and Safety Departmentwill provide sharps containers for staff units that encounter sharps (grounds, custodial, etc.). These sharps should be disposed of via the UCSC Student Health Center Pharmacy through the program described above. Handling of sharps used in research labs will not change, and the sharps containers for researchers will continue to be available through your departmental stockroom.

For questions regarding how to safely handle sharps encountered on UCSC grounds, please contact the campus Biosafety Officer at 459-3542 or email <>.

For more information on sharps and medicine disposal, contact the UCSC Student Health Center Pharmacy at 459-2360 or go to <> where you can find out more information and locate the list of accepted and excluded medicine and sharps waste.

Finally, if you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol and/or drug issues and you’d like to meet with a confidential, non-judgmental person to talk about options, please contact Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP) Alcohol and Other Drug Educator Paul Willis at 459-1417.