Improperly disposed of sharps and medications have toxic effects on the environment and pose severe health risks to staff who collect and sort at municipal waste facilities and Enviro-Depots. Nova Scotians can return sharps (needles, syringes, or lancets) and unwanted or unused medications to local pharmacies for safe disposal — for free.
Household medical waste programs are administered by the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, funded by pharmacies, sharps manufacturers and medication distributors, and provided for free to Nova Scotians.
Whether you’re disposing of sharps or medications, here’s how to do so with the health of the environment and waste management employees in mind.
Safe Sharps Program
Most local pharmacies participate in the province-wide safe sharps program that provides proper containers for disposing of sharp needles in a safe manner at home.
The Safe Sharps program does not include used sharps from medical, dental or veterinary clinics, home care professionals, intravenous drug users, or farms. To properly dispose of these types of sharps, please contact your respective professional association.
Sharps generated by intravenous drug users are to be returned to a needle exchange program. Find locations here.
For more information, contact your local pharmacy, the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Diabetes Association, a local Diabetes Centre, or Divert NS at 1-877-313-7732.
Most local pharmacies participate in the medication disposal program that allows Nova Scotians to return unwanted or expired medications to a pharmacy – for free.
Pick up a free Safe Sharps container at your local pharmacy
Dispose of needles, syringes, and lancets in a Safe Sharps container
Return sealed containers of sharps to your local pharmacy when they’re full
Return unwanted or unused medications to your local pharmacy
Put sharps in plastic bottles or jugs
Put sharps or medications in garbage or recycling bags
Flush sharps or medications down the toilet
Burn sharps or medications