COVID-19 vaccine rollout sees uptick in demand for secure, low-cost needle disposal

An unintended consequence of COVID-19 has been a surge in new trash, from face masks, wipes, and gloves to now used syringes. As tens of millions of vaccines roll out day day, the method of disposing of needles safely and effectively could be fairly the duty.

The method of needles or “sharps” disposal should comply with sure tips. In Arizona, these are outlined the Arizona Division of Environmental High quality. 

“The first concern is sticking hazards, ensuring that people don’t get injured,” Terry Baer, ADEQ Waste Packages Division Part Supervisor Strong/ Hazardous Waste, stated. 

 As millions of vaccines roll out daily, the process of disposing needles safely and efficiently can be quite the task.

 As tens of millions of vaccines roll out day day, the method of disposing needles safely and effectively could be fairly the duty.
(Stephanie Bennett/Fox Information)

The commonest strategies of disposal are grinding, burying, or autoclaving, a course of that steam cleans the needles earlier than disposal.


“With a big quantity like this, it is vital that there are an unlimited variety of alternatives which can be out there to organizations,” Baer stated. 

Some firms are attempting extra environmentally-friendly strategies. OnSite Waste Applied sciences out of California stated their newest gadget can save time, cash and assets compressing as much as 200 needles without delay right into a secure brick. The corporate stated 38 states are already utilizing the tactic. 

OnSite Waste Technologies out of California said their latest device can save time, money and resources  compressing up to 200 needles at once into a safe brick.

OnSite Waste Applied sciences out of California stated their newest gadget can save time, cash and assets compressing as much as 200 needles without delay right into a secure brick.
(Brad Barnes/ OnSite Waste Applied sciences)

“The entire sharps waste that is happening right now, we will deal with it instantly proper on the location, and we flip it into common trash,” Brad Barnes, CEO of OnSite Waste Applied sciences stated.

The corporate estimates about 660 million syringes are wanted to inoculate all the U.S. inhabitants. If laid finish to finish, that may create sufficient waste to wrap across the earth about 1.eight instances. Their containers can condense the needle waste round 80%. It makes use of thermal warmth to deal with the waste so it’s secure to throw away into the landfill. 

“It is going to take about 3.6 million volumes of carbon emission, we scale back that right down to about 200,000 ranges of emission,” Barnes stated.

Coconino County in Arizona is the second-largest county landmass within the U.S. Officers there stated disposing of all their used COVID-19 vaccine syringes is a expensive activity.


“It might be hundreds of {dollars} if not tens of hundreds,” Wes Dison, Coconino County Emergency Administration Director, stated.  “For instance, the sharps containers are about $150 a bit, they’re one-time use, they do not come again, they go away with the biowaste in them and so they no means come again. Now we have to interchange all of these.”

That’s the place native Flagstaff resident Russell Mann, proprietor of Ponderosa Medical Waste Service, stepped in to assist. 

Mann is not any stranger to the business and has been eradicating medical waste for years, however the pandemic has made him busier than ever. After realizing the monetary burden this might create for the county, he’s providing his companies without spending a dime, disposing of all their used COVID-19 needles about twice per week.

“I can not give photographs, I can not do any of these issues, however I can do most likely the one factor that no one else can do, and I can do away with all of those needles for you and I am not charging you a factor. I reside on this county, I’m aside of this neighborhood, and I am completely happy to step up,” Mann stated.

Flagstaff resident Russell Mann is helping dispose all of Coconino County's used COVID-19 syringes free of charge.

Flagstaff resident Russell Mann helps dispose all of Coconino County’s used COVID-19 syringes freed from cost.
(Stephanie Bennett/Fox Information)

Following the accredited tips, after Mann picks up the needles from the Fort Tuthill vaccination location in Flagstaff he then drives them three hours east to one of many solely landfills in Arizona that takes untreated medical waste. Since he has a refrigerated truck he can maintain the needles for 96 hours earlier than they have to be dumped.

For now, Mann stated he’ll proceed to assist out till June or till the county says he’s not wanted. Crucial a part of all of this he stated is ensuring the needles are taken care of and are out of hurt’s manner. 


“It is a tight neighborhood and that is an superior a part of it, and there is at all times folks serving to one another out round right here,” stated Mann. “If all these people are going to be out right here working. I’ll work too I do not thoughts a bit.”

Needles and glass vials can’t be recycled, however different waste together with packaging and containers could also be despatched again to the producer.

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