Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Reminds Residents of Sharps Disposal Program
Barnstable County’s Hazardous Waste program, in coordination with towns on Cape Cod, provides year-round sharps collection and container distribution.
January 4, 2022 (Barnstable, MA) – Barnstable County continues to operate the Residential Sharps Collection Program in coordination with towns and fire districts across Cape Cod, with over 20 locations available for drop-off of used sharps and pick-up of free sharps containers anonymously and at no charge. The program’s goal is to reduce needle-stick injuries to municipal employees and the public while alleviating the problem of sharps found in solid waste and the environment. In 2021 the Barnstable County Residential Sharps Collection Program collected and safely disposed of 22,300 pounds of sharps. Over 4,100 sharps containers were distributed to the public.
“Sharps”- needles, syringes with needles, and lancets like the kind used to test insulin levels, are commonly found in a medical setting. However, many people use these items at home. Because of their potential to accidentally puncture a family member, pet, or sanitation worker, sharps must be safely stored and never thrown in trash or recycling bins.
Kalliope Chute, Hazardous Materials Environmental Specialist, and manager of the program, said, “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. Increasing access to proper needle disposal and providing free disposal further protects the health of our community.”
In 2005 Barnstable County was the first county in the state to have all towns participate in a sharps collection program. The state used Barnstable County’s model when creating regulations codified under 105 CMR 480, requiring that all towns in the state have a residential sharps collection program that includes containers distributed free of charge and drop-off of used sharps for the public.
To access the Sharps Disposal Program brochure go to https://www.capecodextension.org/project/sharps-disposal for more information on drop-off and pick-up locations, or call Kalliope Chute, Hazardous Materials Environmental Specialist at 508-375-6699.
ABOUT CAPE COD COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension is the education department for Barnstable County. Educational programs focus on agriculture, marine resources, horticulture, aquaculture, natural resources, water quality, recycling, household hazardous waste, nutrition, food safety, youth development, and environmental education issues facing the county. Extension programs are conducted in Barnstable County in cooperation with the staff at the University of Massachusetts and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution–Sea Grant program. www.capecodextension.org