During the past year there has been a marked increase in the number of needles and syringes found in the recyclables the recycling company processes. In the past six months alone, over ten of their employees have been pricked by an illegally discarded needle.
Workers exposed to improperly discarded syringes face not only the risk of a painful stick, but also the danger of conracting such diseases as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C. All needle-stick injuries must be treated as if the needles were infected with a disease. Treatments and re-testing are taken over a six month period.
Even if injuries do not cause infection, they can have significant psychological and financial impact on the person who may wait days or weeks to know if he or she has contracted a disease.
It should be noted that it is illegal for any person (home generated) or Medical Facility to dispose needles or syringes where the needle can potentially come in contact with another person (N.J.S.A. 2A:170-25.17). Violators can be fined and/or imprisoned. Please note that is it illegal to dispose of needles and syringes with recyclables.
Unfortunately, many residents are misinformed with regards to the proper disposal of needles and syringes. Below is a link to the NJ information sheet on sage syringe disposal.
Safe Syringe Disposal Information