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How To Properly Dispose Of Tattoo Needles

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:

  • Tattoo needles
  • Plastic protective covers
  • Cotton swabs
  • 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

Why Is It Important To Dispose Of Tattoo Waste In A Specific Way

If youve created your own tattoos, you probably already know about the various health and safety risks you need to keep in mind. Aside from the fact that your tattoo can get infected if you dont take care of it properly, you also need to consider the spread of bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, among others.

Well, the concerns listed above dont just disappear once you finish tattooing. You need to remember that the needles, ink cups, wipes, and all other equipment are also contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids.

Furthermore, the risk is not just limited to you and the person youre tattooing. Lets say you simply chuck your used materials in the garbage. If this is the case, everyone who comes in contact with your trash is also at risk of contamination. With this in mind, you must be aware of the correct way of disposing of your tattoo waste.

Safe Effective Medical Waste Disposal For Tattoo Parlors

When you think about the kinds of places that generate medical waste, a tattoo shop might not be the first place you picture.

Medical waste disposal isnt a compliance issue that is strictly tied to the healthcare community. While we may associate medical waste with hospitals, medical labs, doctors offices, or long-term care facilities, there are other businesses that must follow the same safety guidelines when it comes to medical waste, and that includes tattoo parlors.

Tattoo parlor medical waste refers to the instruments that piercing professionals and tattoo artists produce when piercing or tattooing a client, including sharps, lancets, tattoo needles, sterile dressing, unused ointment, and gloves.

Consider this tattoos are made by inserting ink into the deepest layers of the skin. The mechanized needle punctures the skin and injects ink just below the dermis, which means that the needle comes into contact with bodily fluids, and is therefore considered medical waste.

Tattoo parlor medical waste includes:

  • Tattoo needles
  • Cotton swabs

Piercing needles and other piercing equipment

Tattoo parlors can avoid non-compliance and health risks by investing in a medical waste removal company to handle any and all tattoo parlor medical waste. A medical waste removal company is equipped to safely handle, transport, and dispose of tattoo parlor medical waste properly, in accordance with State and Federal regulations, to protect the public from dangerous pathogens.

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Tattoo Needle Disposal Service

Working with over 700 Tattooists nationwide, we understand the importance of staying compliant with waste disposal regulations. If youre in need of a one-off or regular collection, we will be able to find the right deal that suits you.

Get in touch with us today, click the link below to get an instant free quote on your sharps bin collection & disposal.

Sharps Should Never Be Thrown Loosely Into The Trash Or Toilet

How To Dispose Of Tattoo Needles in 2019

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

If you would like to bring your sealed container to a community sharps disposal program, the Delaware Solid Waste Authority accepts sharps during Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events. For more information about HHW Collection Events, call the Citizens Response Line at or visit the DSWA website

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Examine The Tip Of The Needle

Depending on the brand, the tip of the cartridge that surrounds the needle might have a slightly different shape. Of course, you can choose between open or closed tips, but there can also be variations in the thickness and design.

Over time, you may develop a preference for the style of tip you use with different needle configurations. Check to make sure that you’re comfortable tattooing with that particular tip.

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:

  • Lancets
  • Protective Gowns & other PPE

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Tattoo Parlour Waste Collection

How business waste can help.

At Business Waste, we can help your tattoo parlour or studio become more environmentally friendly by helping you gain better control over your waste. Together, we can devise an expert waste management plan that is specifically tailored to your company. This way, you can minimize waste at the source, promote recycling and ensure that all of your waste is disposed of safely. We also offer flexible waste collection plans depending upon the volume of waste you produce. For example, we could collect your waste on a daily basis or pop by once a month.

Not only is our approach to waste management incredibly flexible, but were also cost-effective as we dont think that protecting the planet should come with a price tag. As such, we offer incredibly low collection costs, alongside providing you with free bins and storage containers.

  • Friendly advice on 0800 211 8390

Get Your Business Waste Collected

Stuck With Syringes Tips On Safe Needle Disposal

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

HONOLULU – The Environmental Protection Agency says more patients these days are using injectable medicines and syringes at home. But not every patient knows where – or how – to dispose of these needles properly and safely.

“This is a problem,” says Tracy Gushiken. She and her husband, Matt, are bewildered. “Look what we’re stuck with!” Matt’s diabetes requires him to take one insulin shot daily, but his used needles are adding up. He has dozens of syringes bagged and boxed.

“That’s only one person,” says Tracy. “So, how many more people? ‘Cause how many diabetics are there? What are we supposed to do?”

When Matt lost his health insurance, he turned to the internet to purchase his diabetic supplies. But now, he can’t get a Hawaii medical facility to take his old needles because he didn’t buy them locally. “Since I have a whole bunch of syringes to get rid of, now we have a problem here,” explains Matt.

The EPA says self-injecting medication at home is on the rise – for conditions ranging from allergies and arthritis to cancer, infertility, and migraines. The state health department says hospitals and doctors’ offices aren’t required to accept used syringes from outside their facilities.

The Gushikens don’t think that’s a safe alternative. “We don’t have the individual bins. So, it’s going to go into those huge bins,” says Tracy. I say, “And you’re saying anybody could get into them.” “Uh huh,” responds Tracy. Their main concern is that children could get into the trash.

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Place All Needles And Other Sharps In A Sharps Disposal Container Immediately After They Have Been Used

This will reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts, and punctures from loose sharps. Sharps disposal containers should be kept out of reach of children and pets.

Note: Overfilling a sharps disposal container increases the risk of accidental needle-stick injury. When your sharps disposal container is about three-quarters full, follow your community guidelines for getting rid of the container .

DO NOT reuse sharps disposal containers.

Be prepared when leaving home. Always carry a small, travel-size sharps disposal container in case other options are not available.

If traveling by plane, check the Transportation Security Administration website for up-to-date rules on what to do with your sharps. To make your trip through airport security easier, make sure your medicines are labeled with the type of medicine and the manufacturer’s name or a drug store label, and bring a letter from your doctor.

Whats The Danger Of Throwing Used Sharps And Syringes In The Trash

Firstly, throwing used needles and syringes into the regular trash can pose a risk of accidental sticks and pricks. If this occurs, the victim could be exposed to traces of insulin or other medications as well as bodily fluids, pathogens and other possibly infectious organisms that can cause illness, injury or death. Throwing used sharps, vials and syringes into the trash can also endanger the environment and wildlife.

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How To Dispose Of Your Sharps Container

When the container is ¾ full you need to dispose of it and place a new container in its place. The following guidelines will help you properly dispose of the unit.

  • Take the container to a dropbox or supervised collection site according to your city and county regulations. These sites may be at a local medical facility, the fire department, a pharmacy, or the local police station. Find out where your container will be accepted and at what times you can use the location.


  • Place a sharps container under a sink
  • Place a sharps container near a light switch or electrical plug-in
  • Place a sharps container near a door
  • Place a sharps container in a narrow hallway or walkway that would cause people to possibly bump into it and spill its contents
  • Throw any sharp instrument into a normal trash wastebasket
  • Do not throw a sharps container into residential waste containers to be picked up with common residential trash
  • Do not have a container that creates a need for the person throwing away the item to stick their hand or fingers inside the container.
  • Do not use a cardboard container that could easily be punctured by a needle
  • Do not have the container in a location where it could be accessed by children or pets
  • Recap a needle! Once a needle has had the cap removed then you toss it away! You can stick yourself trying to cover the end of the needle with the cap that came on the needle.

Safe Needle Handling And Disposal Guidelines

Tattoos Needles
How to pick up and dispose of a needle

Always assume the needle is contaminated.

Do not injure yourself or others.

  • Avoid direct contact with the needle.Use something to protect your hand when picking up the needle .
  • Pick up the needle with the tip facing away.Pick up the needle holding the tip away from yourself and others.
    • Do not separate the syringe from needle.
    • Do not manipulate the needle in any way.
    • Do not recap the needle.
    • Avoid unnecessary handling of the needle.
  • Place the needle in a sealed container.Place the needle in an empty, hard plastic container .
    • Place the container on a level, stable surface and place the needle inside the container. Avoid holding the container when placing the needle inside the container.
    • Seal the container tightly and secure it with tape.
    • Clearly label the container “SHARPS”.
    • Do not put the needle in the garbage.
  • Take the container to a pharmacy.Visit to find a pharmacy near you that will accept needles for safe disposal. Approved sharps containers are also available at these pharmacies.
  • Never put needles/containers in the garbage or recycling bin. Never flush needles or sharps down the toilet or sink.

    What should I do if I am poked by a needle?

    • Allow injury to bleed freely.
    • Thoroughly flush the wound with water.
    • Clean the wound with soap and water.
    • Immediately go to the hospital emergency department for assessment and to see if further treatment is needed.

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    We’ll Handle It From Here

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    We are committed to the preservation of a Blue Planet®… a cleaner, safer and healthier world where people thrive not just for today, but for generations to come. Republic Services is experienced in meeting sustainability requirements and committed to providing environmentally responsible solutions to meet current and future market recycling and solid waste needs.

    Our website access is limited to locations within the United States. Below you will find links to websites accessible to locations outside of the United States.

    Where To Place Your Sharps Container

    Where you keep the container inside your facilities is also regulated.

  • The container has to be visible to everyone in the facility including customers
  • The container has to be within easy reach so you do not have to stand on a chair, or bend down to throw away the sharp item
  • The container should be placed on a wall at a level that is below eye level to make certain it is reachable by everyone
  • The container should only be allowed to fill ¾ of the way before you dispose of it
  • Out of the reach of children and pets
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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

    What Are The Dangers Of Failing To Dispose Of Waste Correctly And Promptly

    Tattoo Safety First- Tattoo University

    Compliant waste management is critical in the protection of people, the environment and our communities.

    Poor waste management exposes employees, waste handlers and the community to infections, toxic effects and injuries. Such as air, water pollution, disease and needle stick injuries.

    Failure to correctly segregate, store, transport and treat healthcare waste can result in pollution, prosecution, fines and bad publicity.

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    How To Dispose Of Tattoo Needles In 2019

    • Posted on:November 7th, 2018

    So youve got your studio set up and contacted the local council to get a tattoo, piercing and electrolysis licence. Tattoo artists are required to have the license, with it being set up on display in your shop. This proves youve had all the equipment checked over, and have the right training.

    As a business owner, you need to make sure your establishment is safe for both staff and customers. One studio faced a fine of £2,000 after leaving customers at risk of contracting infections and disease.

    A big decision youll face next is figuring out how to dispose of your used tattoo needles. Heres how.

    Tips For Cartridge Tattooing

    If you’re just starting out, you may not have much experience with cartridge needles. They come in many different sizes and configurations. Regardless of which brand you choose, high-quality needles are essential for creating high-quality tattoos. Here are six tips for choosing the right cartridge and configuration.

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    Disposing Of Your Full Sharps Bin

    Arrangements for disposing of full sharps bins vary depending where you live.

    If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, and use needles at home, your local council may be responsible for collecting your full sharps bin.

    You can find out more from your local council’s website. Local councils can charge for this service, but most do not.

    Safe Proper Disposal Is Essential

    The Many Hazards of Improper Needle Disposal

    As the manager or owner of a tattoo parlor, its critical that you know and understand the rules and regulations of safe and proper disposal of all the medical waste you generate. And while hospitals, physicians offices and other heath care related organizations may have more types of waste, the waste you generate from performing tattoo art can be hazardous if it is not disposed of correctly. Take a look:

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