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These items also require special consideration when disposing of them.

Hypodermic Needles and Other Sharps
Needles and other sharps are not recyclable. Needles and other sharps should be brought to your local hospital or nursing home for safe disposal. The Sharps Smarts Brochure contains a list of drop-off sites, hours of operation, and contact numbers.

In the case of unused epinephrine auto-injectors, it is suggested that you contact your prescribing doctor. Many medical offices will accept unused auto-injectors for training patients or caregivers.  

Although no law prohibits the disposal of needles and other household sharps in the trash, these items can pose a danger to your trash hauler. If you must dispose of a sharp in the trash, please check with your municipality or trash hauling company to confirm they will accept secured sharps. In order to secure sharps in a safe manner, place the used sharp in a hard plastic container with a screw-on lid, such as a detergent or bleach bottle. A coffee can, cardboard box, Tyvek envelope, or bubble wrap lined package can be punctured and is not a safe method of disposal. After the screw-top lid of the hard plastic container is tightly secured, tape should be wrapped around the lid to ensure it remains secure. The container should be labelled “Sharps”, but not be labelled “hazardous waste”. A container properly secured in this manner may be disposed of in the trash, depending upon your trash haulers regulations.

Mercury Thermostats
Household thermostats may contain a small amount of mercury; therefore, they should be recycled. Residents can bring any mercury containing items, including thermostats, to the Household Material Recovery Facility. Visit the Mercury Thermostat Corporation Web site, and enter your zip code in "find a TRC collection point near you".

Mercury Spills
Avoid contact with the spilled mercury until you decide who will be cleaning it up — you or a professional. In general, you can clean up a small mercury spill yourself, such as from a fever thermometer or thermostat. The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation recommend that a trained professional, such as a hazardous waste contractor, do the cleanup whenever the amount of mercury spilled is greater than what is typically found in a fever thermometer or thermostat. Read about cleaning up a mercury spill, for safety and disposal guidelines.

"Used but Usable Items"
Donating is a way to recycle clothing and household items that have reached the end of their life cycle with you. However, this doesn't mean these items are no longer usable. Perhaps someone else can use that shirt or set of mixing bowls. Consider carefully the condition of an item before tossing it in the garbage.