Mississippi Sharps Collection Program to Reach 85,000 Pounds Milestone
Published 12:53 pm Monday, December 6, 2021
(JACKSON, Miss.) — Mississippi’s Household Medical Sharps Collection and Disposal Program managed by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) reached a significant milestone in 2021. As of September 2021, more than 82,700 pounds of household medical sharps have been collected from the public since the inception of the program in 2009. MDEQ projects the total will reach 85,000 pounds collected by the end of the year. It is estimated that 85,000 pounds is equivalent to more than 13 million syringes that were kept out of household trash bags preventing needle stick injuries to sanitation workers and other waste management personnel. Household medical sharps include syringes, needles, lancets, and other sharp medical objects used in the home for treatment of health-related issues with people and pets.
“The growth of this program has surpassed expectations to the point that Mississippi has more household medical sharps drop-off locations per capita than any other state in the nation. Reaching the collection of 85,000 pounds just three years after reaching 50,000 pounds is another indicator of success,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.
Before MDEQ implemented the collection program, there were few options for disposing of medical sharps. The Mississippi State Legislature, with input from MDEQ and others, adopted laws that established the medical sharps collection program to assist the public with the proper disposal of sharps. Currently, the program has 337 drop-off locations statewide, most of which are at local pharmacies and municipal fire stations.
In recognition that December is International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness Month, MDEQ encourages Mississippians to properly dispose of their household sharps and use the drop-off locations rather than tossing them in the trash or flushing them down toilets. Information about the program, the use of containers, and drop-off sites can be found at: www.mdeq.ms.gov/medsharps.