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Recycling Questions? Ask Sonja and Helen Edition #10


Recycling Questions? Ask Sonja & Helen


Every two months, Recycling Renewal Program (RRP) Coordinators, Sonja and Helen, answer your questions on what can and cannot be recycled at Health Authority owned hospital and residential care sites.

Recycling in health care facilities is different to recycling at home or in an office. Our facilities generate biomedical waste, so our recyclables pose a higher risk to recycling vendor staff that sort items by hand. We want to help ensure you have the information you need to dispose of your waste items correctly.

Missed previous editions? 

We post the recycling question and answer series with photos and posters on the BCGreenCare.ca site here.


Edition #10: Empty syringes

Q. Where should I dispose of empty syringes at Lower Mainland hospitals and residential care facilities?

Dispose of empty syringes in the Garbage.


This includes all types and sizes, for example:

·         Insulin syringes

·         Oral medication syringes

·         Injection pens

·         Safety syringes

·         Needleless injectors

·         Flush syringes

·         Blood collection syringes and vacutainers

Regardless of the fact that it is a needleless syringe, or the needle has been removed, it must be placed in the garbage.

Q. But, why can’t I recycle empty syringes in the Mixed Container bin?

These items aren’t accepted by our recycling vendor for three reasons:

1.       Since, there is no way to guarantee that the syringe didn’t contain blood or bodily fluid, our recycling vendor doesn’t accept them, even when empty.

2.       Similarly, there is no way to guarantee that the needle was removed from the syringe.

3.       And lastly, even though the syringe barrel is made of plastic, the piston that seals the liquid in the barrel is made of rubber. Rubber isn’t a recyclable material.

Send us your questions!

Unsure about what can and can’t be recycled and why? Or do you have an inspiring story about recycling in your unit? 

Send an email to marianne.dawson@fraserhealth.ca. We will include your question in a future edition or contact you directly.