QUESTION: Can I Dispose of Medical Sharps in My Household Trash, or Is It Necessary to Use a Dropoff Box at a Police Station?

FACT: Medical sharps such as needles, catheters and lancets can be tossed out with your regular garbage, provided they are in a rigid container and clearly labeled as medical sharps. There is no legal requirement to use a dropoff box, however.​
​​​​​​​
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sets the rules for household medical waste, not the City. In essence, as long as the sharps are home-generated (not from being administered by a medical professional), they’re not considered regulated medical waste. Household trash collected by the City is incinerated, so any sharps will be disposed of safely and responsibly.
If you prefer, the City does offer an alternative disposal method at the four police precinct stations listed below. These are merely an alternative way to get rid of medical sharps, especially if there’s a concern that used needles might end up in the wrong hands. It’s an unfortunate fact that would-be trash snoopers will often go through waste bins to find needles for illicit habits, especially if they know there’s an easy source nearby.

In light of that, each precinct offers this service as part of the prescription drug collection boxes. When it’s time to empty the boxes, the contents are taken to an incinerator under the supervision of VBPD staff, where it’s destroyed. Please note that illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia are not accepted at any of the takeback locations.

One thing to keep in mind – whatever you do, please do not place your sharps into the trash outside of a rigid container. They should never be placed into the recycling bins, in or outside of a container. Recycling refuse is sorted by hand, and any kind of medical waste poses a health and safety hazard for the workers.

For more information about the DEQ rules, please visit their website at deq.virginia.gov​, or give them a call at 1-800-592-5482. 

First Precinct 

2509 Princess Anne Road 
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
(757) 385-4377 
Hours: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.

​Second Precinct

820 Virginia Beach Blvd. 
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 385-2700
Open 24 hours

Third Precinct

926 Independence Blvd. 
Virginia Beach, VA 23455  
(757) 385-2703
Open 24 hours

​Fourth Precinct

840 Kempsville Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
(757) 385-2800
Open 24 hours


Contact Information

VB411 - Viewer Mailbag Questions