Barnstable County Officials Highlight Sharps Disposal Program

Used needles strewn on the ground near a campsite in Hyannis.

BARNSTABLE – Barnstable County officials are reminding residents of the Residential Sharps Collection program that it runs in coordination with towns and fire districts across Cape Cod.

The program aims to reduce needle-stick injuries to municipal employees and the public, as well as reduce the number of sharps found in solid waste and the environment.

Sharps include needles, syringes and lancets like those used to test insulin levels. Though they are usually utilized in a medical setting, many use the items at home. 

As they can potentially puncture family members, pets and sanitation workers, the county says that they must be safely stored and never thrown away trash or recycling bins. 

According to county officials, the program collected and safely disposed of 22,300 pounds of sharps over the course of 2021. 

“Individuals using sharps don’t always understand the importance of proper disposal and may not be aware of disposal options. Through community education and safe and convenient disposal locations, the Residential Sharps Collection program will reduce the number of accidental needle sticks,” said Hazardous Materials Environmental Specialist and manager of the program Kalliope Chute in a statement.

“Increasing access to proper needle disposal and providing free disposal further protects the health of our community.”

Barnstable County was the first in the state to have all of its towns participate in a sharps collection program, beginning back in 2005. 

More information on the sharps program, including drop-off and pick-up locations, can be found here.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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