Sharps Waste Management Policy

Relevant Standards:

Code of Practice for the Management of Biomedical Waste in Canada”, Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), February 1992.


To outline procedures for the safe collection, treatment, and disposal of waste sharps.



clinical and laboratory material consisting of needles, syringes, blades, or laboratory glass capable of causing punctures or cuts. 


  1. All sharps waste shall be regarded as hazardous and segregated from other waste streams.
  2. Sharps waste shall be deposited in the University-standard sharps collectors.
  3. All full sharps collectors shall be autoclaved in accordance with procedures recommended by CCME for biomedical waste (i.e. 120 oC at 105 kPa for more than 60 minutes).
  4. When autoclaving of sharps collectors is not possible, such waste shall be collected in a secure storage facility and disposed via an agency licensed to remove biomedical wastes. (Consult Environmental Health and Safety for advice.)
  5. Sharps collectors shall not be reused.
  6. Sharps waste contaminated with radioactive materials shall be collected and managed separately in accordance with advice from Environmental Health and Safety.


Needlestick injuries may result in the spread of HIV, hepatitis A, B, and C, tuberculosis, herpes, staph and other infectious diseases. 

Needlestick injuries are preventable. Strategies include:

  • replace conventional syringes with safety syringes;
  • dispose of needles and sharps immediately at the point-of-use;
  • use University-standard sharps collectors; 
  • minimize the use of needles and sharps (i.e. use needleless systems);
  • do not recap needles. 

Procedures for Sharps Waste Management

Sharps waste shall be placed inside yellow custom-labelled University-standard sharps collectors which remain intact when autoclaved at high temperatures. These sharps collectors are available from the Physical Resources Stockroom (519- 824-4120 ext. 2469). When practicable, non-infectious plastic syringe bodies and cases shall be separated from the needle and disposed of as non-recyclable plastic waste. Bleach solutions or other disinfectants are not permitted in sharps collectors.

Insulin Syringes

Insulin-dependent students and/or their family members residing in student residences or family housing on the main campus may obtain a University-standard sharps collector from Student Health Services. The student should return the collector to Student Health Services for disposal.

Employees may obtain a University-standard sharps collector for on-campus use from Occupational Health Services. The collector should be returned to Occupational Health Services for disposal.

Employees and students at the Regional Colleges should consult the College Administrative Officer for appropriate advice about sharps collection and disposal.

Safety Information

The International Health Care Worker Safety Centre was established in 1992 at the University of Virginia to promote safety procedures in health care.

Effective: September 2000