The Household Medical Sharps Collection and Disposal Program managed by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) reached a milestone in late 2018. In total, the program collected more than 50,000 pounds of medical sharps (syringes, needles, lancets, and other sharp objects used by persons in their homes for self-treatment of health issues) from the public during the program’s nine-year history. It is estimated that 50,000 pounds is equivalent to approximately 7.6 million syringes kept out of household trash bags or flushed down toilets, which prevented needle stick injuries to waste collectors.
“The growth of this program has surpassed expectations to the point that Mississippi has more household medical sharps drop-off locations per capita than any other state in the nation,” said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director.
Before MDEQ implemented its voluntary program in 2009, there were few options for disposing of medical sharps. The Mississippi State Legislature, with input from MDEQ and others, adopted laws that provided for a voluntary medical sharps collection program for proper disposal. In the past nine years the program has gained 354 drop-off locations statewide including local pharmacies, Walgreens and Fred’s pharmacy stores, and several municipal fire stations.
Information on the program can be found here.