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How To Dispose Of Tattoo Needles

Managing Your Tattoo Parlor Waste

How to clean your tattoo Needles between colors.

In order to remain compliant with local and federal mandates, its important to manage your tattoo parlor waste and ensure that it is safely stored on premises and disposed of properly. Sharps, needles, scalpels, razor blades, disposable razors and other similar items should be placed in an approved sharps container. Be sure to never overfill the container and that the lid is closed and locked at all times. Items that have been soaked with blood or exposed to other bodily fluids including gauze, dressings, gloves, cotton swabs and cotton balls, plastic tattoo gun covers and other items should be placed in a red biohazard bag.

When it comes to your tattoo parlor and medical waste, following your state regulations and federal mandates will help ensure that your facility avoids hefty fines and reduce the risk of exposing the community to dangerous pathogens. Partnering with a reputable medical waste disposal company is the top way to make sure your waste is disposed of and destroyed securely and on a regular basis.

All Points Medical Waste can help you by providing full-service medical waste disposal for your tattoo parlor. We are a family owned company located in Stuart, Florida and serving South Florida Counties throughout the Treasure Coast and within Okeechobee, Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Give us a call today or fill out this form to learn more about how we can serve you.

Why Is It Important To Dispose Them In A Specific Way

You might be wondering why you cant just throw used tattoo needles in the trash. After all, theyre just sharp objects, right? Wrong. As we mentioned before, used tattoo needles are considered medical waste, which means they need to be disposed of in a specific way.

There are two main reasons for this:

Used tattoo needles can transmit diseases When a needle is used on someones skin, it comes into contact with their blood. If that needle is then reused on another person without being sterilized first, it can transmit diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Used tattoo needles can cause injuries If a used tattoo needle is thrown in the trash, theres a chance that someone could come into contact with it and get poked or cut. This is especially dangerous if the needle is contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids.

it is important to dispose of medical waste properly

Are Tattoo Needles Reusable Or Single

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 7, 2020Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Tattoo needles should be considered as single-use and shouldnt be reused. If youre tattooing yourself at home and know how to sterilize your needles, well, nothings stopping you. A tattoo parlor shouldnt reuse needles on someone else and should be disposed of immediately.

Good hygiene is one of the most important elements of getting a tattoo, and it all starts with the artist and parlor. High sanitation and hygiene rules should be observed without any shortcuts whatsoever. When it comes to tattoo needles, the utmost care should be taken in their use and disposal.

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Why Shouldnt You Reuse Tattoo Needles

During a tattoo session, theres going to be some bleeding involved, which will get onto the needles. Blood and body fluids can carry diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, and so its pretty clear that this risk should be mitigated at all costs.

If an artist reuses tattoo needles that were used on an infected client on you, you stand a huge risk of contracting the disease. You cant put a price on good health, but you can put a price on tattoo needles.

Never Throw Used Sharps

Tattoo Plastic Sharps Container Biohazard Needle Disposal Waste Box for ...

Sharps that retract after use, or are very small, should be disposed of like all other sharps.

Most counties in California have disposal programs. Call the program to confirm if there are any container requirements, disposal fees or residency restrictions. for information on pharmaceutical company takeback programs.

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Handling Sharp Waste In Tattoo Beauty Parlors

It is necessary to pre-segregate waste, label it, and select an appropriate disposal method, not only for environmental reasons but epidemiological safety. It is particularly important to dispose of sharp objects used during treatments due to the need to protect people from unintentional stabbing/injury . This applies to employees who provide services with contaminated sharp tools, andto employees who pick up poorly protected sharp objects or incorrectly sorted and unmarked waste .

The current rules for the handling of sharp tools and contaminated instruments in non-medical services, from a logical point of view, should be as restrictive as those used in medical services . However, the same views are not held in every country . This can be explained by the different levels of automation of waste disposal and the lower risk for humans associated with increased levels of automation.

In many countries, the logistics of waste disposal are standardized by variouslaws, at different administrative levels, and by different authorities. For example, waste disposal in the USA is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control , Occupational Safety and Health Administration , U.S. Food and Drug Administration, federal law, and local state law . Many guide/recommendation documents contain valuable tips on the safety of all stages of waste disposal from storage, labeling, and receipt in order to minimize the health risk for people who must handle contaminated/hazardous materials .

How Can Tattoo Artists Reduce Waste And Be Green

There are various debates about whether or not tattoos are ethical, particularly concerning the environment. This is because many of the products used to make tattoos, such as inks and dyes, contain elements that could be harmful to the planet. Furthemore, the average tattoo artist will use a great deal of single-use products, such as PPE, bandages and ink caps, every single day making it harder to commit to genuinely sustainable practices. That being said, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure your tattoo parlour is as eco-friendly as possible. For example, you should:

Recycle wherever possible.

Switch to a renewable energy source.

Purchase sustainable products for use at your business. For example, you could purchase ink cups that are made from recycled paper as opposed to plastic.

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Contact A Licensed Company To Handle The Disposal Further

Once you have your tattoo needles in a puncture-resistant container, youll need to find a licensed company to handle the disposal further. This is because regular trash pickups will not take them.

Tattoo needles should never be thrown away in the trash.

Instead, you should always take them to a designated drop-off location for sharps. These are usually located at hospitals or clinics. You can also check with your local tattoo shop to see if they offer a needle disposal service. , , , , ,

Tattoo & Body Artists


Stericycles experience serving tattoists and body artists makes us the preferred choice for your business waste management needs. We offer comprehensive integrated waste solutions including regulated waste streams. Our solutions include compliant disposal as well as recycling and reuse solutions to drive sustainability goals.

Discover the Stericycle difference:

  • Increase safety, compliance, and efficiency around biohazardous waste and sharps disposal with our variety of containers
  • Reduce risk with leaders in managing regulated wastes supported by a robust infrastructure of expert localized team members, trucks, treatment facilities, and seamless vendor management

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Which Containers Are Appropriate To Store And Dispose Of Needles

Used sharps should always be kept in a puncture-resistant container, such as an FDA-approved sharps container. Use a hard plastic jug with a close-able cover in a pinch, such as an empty laundry detergent bottle. Then, when youre ready to discard them, a puncture-proof container will prevent dangerous needle pokes from within trash bags. Unfortunately, other plastic vessels like water and soda bottles are not puncture-resistant. As a result, these will not protect others from exposure to used sharps.

Tattoo Needles: Sharps Waste

Under the 2005 Hazardous Waste Regulations, needles and sharps from Tattoo and body art shops, need to be disposed of in special containers called sharps bins.

Tattoo needles are classed as sharps which is any needle, blade which could an injury by cutting or pricking the skin. With tattoo needles, you and your employees must be very careful when disposing of used needles. A sharps injury could transmit potential blood-borne viruses like Hepatitis B & C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus if you arent careful.

The best answer to preventing needle injury is to place the used needles into a sharps bin.

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What Types Of Medical Waste Comes From Tattoo Parlors

Tattoos are created by inserting needles into the skin and piercing through layers of epidermis, the needles come in contact with bodily fluids including blood. Because of this, the needles are considered medical waste. In addition to the sharps used in the process, there are other items and materials used that also can be classified as medical waste and pose a risk to people, animals and the environment if disposed improperly including:

  • Protective Gowns & other PPE

Disposal Of Sharps Waste What To Do

5X(Tattoo Plastic s Container Biohazard Needle Disposal Waste Box for ...

Once you are done using them, immediately place any sharps in an approved disposal container. These sharps containers are often available from your service provider.

If you do not have access to an approved tattooist waste disposal container, you may be able to use another type of puncture-proof container instead.

This container should also have a secure lid, not leak, and stand upright. Some bottles that are also frequently used for this purpose are rinsed out bleach bottles.

Keep your sharps container in a safe place where it will not tip over and spill and where children and pets cannot access it.

Get a new sharps tattooist waste disposal container when the old unit reaches 2/3 full.

Ask your local environmental officer what to do with your filled container. Some pharmacies may accept sealed sharps containers. If you need further help, you can call your local public health department, or search sharps disposal on the internet.

What Not to Do

Important issues to consider with waste.

  • Dont throw sharps into the regular garbage waste containers
  • Do not attempt to burn or incinerate used sharps
  • Dont flush sharps down the toilet
  • Do not handle or attempt to recap sharps used by another person
  • Do not try to remove the needle from a syringe yourself

Using a proper sharps container to store used needles and disposing of that container in a safe way by using an approved company are the first steps to preventing this kind of injury.

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Dispose Of Used Sharps Disposal Containers According To Your Community Guidelines

Sharps disposal guidelines and programs vary depending on where you live. Check with your local trash removal services or health department pages in your phone book) to see which of the following disposal methods are available in your area:

Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites

You may be able to drop off your sharps disposal containers at appropriate chosen collection sites, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, medical waste facilities, and police or fire stations. Services may be free or have a nominal fee.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites

You may be able to drop off your sharps disposal containers at local public household hazardous waste collection sites. These are sites that also commonly accept hazardous materials such as household cleaners, paints and motor oil.

Mail-Back Programs

You may be able to mail certain FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers to a collection site for proper disposal, usually for a fee. Fees vary, depending on the size of the container. Follow the container manufacturer’s instructions because mail-back programs may have specific requirements on how to label sharps disposal containers.

Residential Special Waste Pick-Up Services

For more information specific to your state, call Safe Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643 or e-mail . Information they can provide for your state includes:

Disposing Of Needles In Alternative Ways

  • 1Use a sturdy plastic jug if an FDA-approved container is unavailable. If you dont have an FDA-approved sharps disposal container, you can still throw away your used needles in another sturdy plastic container, such as a bleach or laundry detergent bottle. Make sure the container has a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid and can stand upright when in use. The container itself should be leak-proof and puncture-resistant as well.XResearch source
  • Once the container is about 3/4 full, dispose of it according to your community guidelines as you would with an official FDA-approved container.
  • 2Cut the needle off the syringe with needle clippers to cut down on waste. Place the needle portion of a small syringe, such as an insulin syringe, inside the clipper. Then, press down on the clippers to cut the needle off. You can then throw the rest of the syringe away in the trash.XResearch source The needle will be stored within the clipper until you dispose of it in a sharps container.XTrustworthy SourceUS Food and Drug AdministrationU.S. government agency responsible for promoting public healthGo to source
  • The syringe is the part that holds the medication, while the needle is the pointy end used to pierce your skin or veins.
  • While syringes can legally and safely be disposed of in the trash, they cannot be placed in the recycling even if the materials are recyclable.XResearch source
  • At-home needle grinders typically cost over $100 USD.
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    Disposing Of Tattoo Waste

    When you think about the kinds of places that generate medical waste, a tattoo shop might not be the first place you picture. But even though its a somewhat non-traditional practice, a tattoo shop falls under the same rules and regulations as everyone else after all, these artists use a needle for a paintbrush.

    Anything that comes into contact with bodily fluids that cannot be sterilized needs to be disposed of as regulated medical waste. Tattoo needles definitely fit the bill. If not disposed of properly, this kind of hazardous waste can be very harmful to others and the environment and of course, its also illegal.

    Needles, whether from a tattoo shop or a dentists office, should always share the same final resting place: an approved sharps container. When its full, that sharps container needs to be disposed of promptly and with safety and regulatory compliance in mind.

    If youre curious about the other types of equipment used in a tattoo shop that also need to be treated as regulated medical waste, heres a quick list:

    • Protective gloves

    Are The Needles Sanitary

    Tattoo Needles Biohazard Disposal | Medical Waste Manifest for your Records and HIPAA Training

    You can tell if the tattoo needles are sanitary by the package they come in. It should be sealed just before use. If you notice this happening at the parlor you visit, run for the hills!

    Some artists will deliberately open the sealed needle packet in front of you, which is evidence that an artist hasnt used them already. If you see that the artist has already set the gun up and its ready to use, you can always check to confirm the needle is completely unused.

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    State Guidelines For California

    Beginning on September 1, 2008, State law makes it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste in the trash or recycling containers, and requires that all sharps waste be transported to a collection center in a sharps containers or other containers approved by the enforcement agency.

    Section 117671 of the California Health and Safety Code defines home-generated sharps waste as hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications derived from a household, including a multifamily residence or household.

    The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is working to help develop a safe, convenient, and cost-effective infrastructure for collecting and properly disposing of home-generated sharps waste. Decreasing the number of sharps disposed in landfills will help prevent potential health risks to landfill and material recovery facility workers.

    Guidelines For Proper Disposal Of Needles And Syringes

    • Dont put loose needles and syringes in the sharps drop boxes. Instead, place the items in a sharps container or a 1-gallon hard-sided plastic container with a lid, such as a laundry detergent, bleach, or soda bottle. Tape the container shut.
    • Dont leave containers outside the sharps drop boxes.
    • Dont put medications or other medical supplies in the sharps drop boxes. You can dispose of unused medications at the Cambridge Police Departments medication disposal drop box. To learn about other ways to dispose of medication in Cambridge, see the health departments medication disposal web page.
    • The Cambridge Public Health Department is sometimes able to provide small, personal-sized sharps containers to residents who request them at the health department office, 119 Windsor Street, ground floor. Please call ahead to confirm availability: 617-665-3802.

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    A Surprisingly Easy Way To Compliantly Dispose Of Tattoo Medical Waste

    Apr 8, 2015 | Medical Waste Disposal

    Did you know there is a surprisingly easy way to compliantly dispose of tattoo medical waste? If you own a tattoo parlor, you probably know that your needle sharps and other infectious waste cant be tossed out with your standard trash.

    What you might not know is the increasingly popular method of compliantly disposing of your waste through a mail back waste system.

    Tattoo Medical Waste Disposal by Mail

    Many people refer to this disposal method as a Medical Waste Mail Back Program. At MERI, we call it a Medical Waste Recovery System .

    Most infectious waste producers, including tattoo parlors, rely on a medical waste disposal company to pick up and transport their infectious waste. However, many waste generators find a mail back system is an easier way to dispose of waste, while remaining compliant.

    What sort of waste are we referring to? Any items that come into contact with bodily fluids and cannot be sterilized are considered infectious waste, and can be disposed of through a MWRS kit. At a tattoo parlor, that often includes the following:

    • Plastic protective covers
    • Ink caps and leftover ink in the caps
    • Leftover ointment

    Heres how it all works:

    How our Mail Back System Works

    All infectious waste must be separated, stored and transported in certified, impenetrable containers to protect anybody who handles it.

    Each MWRS kit includes the following items:

    How a MWRS Kit Guarantees Compliant, Lawful Disposal

    Will withstand the elements

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