Thursday, December 4th, 2014

The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority is urging county residents not to place items such as syringes, needles, lancets and auto-injectors in with recyclables.

ReCommunity Recycling, operator of the county’s recycling market in Mine Hill, has informed the MCMUA that during the last year there has been a dramatic increase in injuries to facility employees caused by those items known as Sharps being mixed in with recyclables.

According to Christine Vidal, MCMUA recycling specialist, many users of Sharps place them in plastic bottles for disposal, and some users then incorrectly place the filled plastic bottles in the recycling bin or in the garbage can rather than disposing of them properly.

“Once a bottle that is filled with used Sharps goes into a recycling truck and is compacted, the bottle usually breaks open, spilling and mixing its contents with other recyclable material,” Vidal said. “The employees at the recycling center sort recyclables by hand, thus exposing themselves to the risk of puncture wounds, cuts and blood borne diseases from those Sharps.”

To help prevent injuries to employees in all areas of the recycling and garbage industries, the MCMUA wants county residents to know there are several programs for the safe disposal of Sharps in Morris County. Drop off locations include:

      St. Clare’s Hospital, Dover (973-989-3073) and Denville (973-625-6026) campuses where syringes may be dropped off at the front desk, but they must be in a sealed, hardened container.

      Morristown Medical Center (973-971-4177), where containers for syringes can be picked up or dropped off at the outpatient desk on the right after going into the main entrance. The syringes must be empty and syringe containers cannot be more than 3/4 full. The hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturdays 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

     Chilton Memorial Hospital / Access Center in Pompton Plains (973-831-5191) where empty syringe containers can be picked up and full ones can be dropped off. All syringes must be in containers. The hours Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

An option for safe syringe disposal by mail may be obtained by contacting Waste Management, which has a “Sharps Disposal by Mail” program. Participants are provided with an approved disposal container and can mail full containers for disposal using the U.S. Postal Service. Interested parties can call Waste Management for prices and details at 877-WASTE-MD.

Any program should be contacted prior to use for specifics, such as packaging requirements, costs and limitations.

For more information on proper Sharps disposal, individuals can contact their municipal health department, or they can visit the U.S. Federal Drug Administration website at http://1.usa.gov/1Euosh3 or visit www.safeneedledisposal.org.

The MCMUA provides curbside single stream recycling in Boonton, Boonton Township, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, Chester Borough, Denville, East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, Mine Hill, Morris Plains, Netcong, Rockaway Borough, and Wharton.For information about single stream recycling or household hazardous waste disposal, visit www.mcmua.com.