Mississippi Sharps Collection Program Reaches Milestone

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Mississippi’s Household Medical Sharps Collection and Disposal Program managed by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) reached a milestone in late 2018. Altogether, more than 50,000 pounds of medical sharps have been voluntarily collected 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 that were kept out of household trash bags, which prevented needle stick injuries to waste collectors. Medical sharps include syringes, needles, lancets, and other sharp objects used by persons in their homes for self-treatment of health related issues.

“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. Reaching the collection of 50,000 pounds is another indicator of success, and we look forward to exceeding these totals in the future,” 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 the proper disposal of sharps. In the past nine years the program has gained 354 drop-off locations statewide including local pharmacies, most Walgreens and Fred’s pharmacy stores, and several municipal fire stations.

MDEQ encourages Mississippi residents to properly dispose of their sharps and use drop off the containers rather than tossing them in the trash or flushing them in toilets. Information on the program and drop off locations can be found at mdeq.ms.gov/medsharps.