Syringes without needles are no longer a "sharp."
The University’s sharps definition has changed. The revised definition means that syringes without needles are no longer considered a sharp and do not have to be placed in a red sharps container after use. Instead, do the following:
- Collect and package syringes without needles as laboratory glass/plastic, either biohazardous or non-hazardous depending on what materials they were used with.
- Certain plastic syringes have fine tips that could puncture a plastic bag; check the Sharps and Lab Glass webpage for detailed instructions on packaging lab glass and plastic.
- Use our Packaging Sharps and Lab Glass poster for quick guidance.
If you are using a syringe with a needle, do not remove the needle to dispose of the syringe separately. Always dispose of needles (including syringes with needles) in a sharps container promptly after use.
EH&S updated the following resources with the new sharps definition:
- Sharps and Laboratory Glass webpage
- Packaging Sharps and Lab Glass poster
- Sharps Waste poster
- UW Biosafety Manual
- UW Biohazardous Waste Management Plan
- Site-specific Biohazardous Waste Flow Charts
- EH&S online trainings
Why did the sharps definition change?
EH&S and the UW Infectious Waste Committee updated the definition based on changes to Oregon State sharps regulations because we ship sharps waste to Oregon. Oregon no longer considers a syringe without a needle to be a sharp, and neither Washington State (Chapter 70.95K) nor the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC 21.43) include syringes without needles in their sharps definitions.
Contact an EH&S biosafety officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.221.7770 for assistance.