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Improper Sharps Disposal Temporarily Halts OC Landfill Recycling

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Improper disposal by people using needles shut down recycling for awhile this week at the Oneida County Landfill.

Solid Waste Director Lisa Jolin details what happened...

"...Going through the recycling they found some needles busted open. They were in some laundry detergent containers, not marked, and they got busted open and there were loose needles mixed in with the rest of the recycling..."

All the recycling is hand-sorted. No one was injured.

Jolin says she wants people using needles and sharps to dispose of them properly before someone gets hurt...

"....There's programs at the hospital, pharmacies collect some of them, they require different packaging. The Oneida County Health Dept. is a great resource to dispose of them properly. DNR has a website. People could call(landfill) if they don't know what to do with them, but they can't go into recycling or with the regular trash. They need to be handled separately..."

The DNR website recommends clipping the needle points or recap or re-sheathe discarded sharps to help prevent needle sticks. Place the sharps in rigid puncture-resistant containers with secure lids or caps. Acceptable containers include commercially available sharps containers or thick-walled plastic detergent or bleach bottles with screw caps. Visibly label the sharps container with the words "biohazard," "infectious waste" or "sharps," or with the bio-hazard emblem. If you have put sharps in a recyclable container, label it "Do not recycle."

When the container is full, sealed and labeled, store it out of reach of children and dispose of it properly at a sharps collection station.

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