Medical Waste


If you or someone you know has been punctured by a medical sharp (needle, syringe, scalpel) or broken glass that you suspect is contaminated, please go to your nearest emergency ward, call 911 or contact Telehealth Ontario toll-free at 1-866-797-0000.

Medical Waste

NO medical waste is acceptable in the Recycling (Blue Box) Program or our Hazardous and Electronic Waste Program. Medical waste inlcudes any kind of waste that contains infectious material (or material that’s potentially infectious).

Anything that comes in contact with a human or animal (living or deceased) would be considered medical waste.

medical waste

What is Medical Waste?

Medical waste can contain bodily fluids like blood or other contaminants. This can be defined as waste generated during medical research, testing, diagnosis, immunization, or treatment of either human beings or animals. Some examples are culture dishes, glassware, bandages, gloves, discarded sharps like needles or scalpels, swabs, and tissue.

This type of waste can be generated at:

medical waste recycling

Where to Take Your Medical Waste

As with other materials, everything has a place to be disposed of properly. Here is a list of the most common items we see in our facility. If you’re unsure of something, please see our Resources section below.

1. Prescription bottles

Make sure your bottle is empty and the label with your identifying information is removed or defaced. Some pharmacies will take back your empty bottles. Otherwise, they are garbage.

2. Medicine Bottles

Over the counter medicine bottles are recyclable if they are WHITE, EMPTY and CLEAN. Think Aspirin, Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.

3. ‘Other’ Medicine Bottles

Bottles that contain liquids such as methadone, are NOT recyclable. These need to be returned to the facility you received them from. If you are a clinic or pharmacy, as an example, return them to your supplier. These are considered a hazard to recycling employees.

4. Needles, Sharps, Syringes and Epi-Pens

These should never go in your recycling. Designated Sharps Containers are available from your pharmacy for free and can be returned to your pharmacy when it’s full, at no cost.

5. Gauze, Tissues and Antibacterial Wipes

Because these contain bodily fluids, they cannot be recycled and need to be put into your garbage. Even clean, they are not a material that can be accepted by any recycling facility.

6. Vials and Urine Bottles

Whether these are made out of plastic or glass, they are not recyclable. Either return them to your medical professional or put them in the garbage.

7. Medical Tubing, Breathing Tubes, IV Tubes and Bags

100% garbage. They may seem like a recyclable material, but they are not.

8. Safe Injection Kits

These kits include rubber bands, dispensing tin (stericup), lighters, condoms and rubber gloves. None of these items are recyclable whether they are new or used. Please place these items in the garbage.

9. Leak Protection Products

These include child and adult diapers, pads and menstrual products. There is nothing recyclable about these materials. Always put in the garbage. There are cloth made alternatives that can be washed and reused.

10. Leftover Medication

Any medication that is unused should always be returned to your pharmacy. They shouldn’t be put into your recycling, garbage or flushed into the sewer system. They can also be taken to our Hazardous Waste Depot in Belleville.

11. Face Masks and Disposable Gloves

These belong in the garbage at all times.