No place for medical waste at curbside collection, county says

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland County reminds residents that safe disposal practices for medical waste – items such as IV bags and tubing, gauze, latex gloves, syringes, medication and prescription drugs – definitely do not include being left out for curbside collection.

These items must be handled properly to avoid the risk of harm to county staff, the press release said, as well as to other members of the community.

Director of transportation, waste and facilities Mobushar Pannu said that they are seriously concerned by the hazardous materials they see coming through the county's landfill and recycling facilities.

“Improper disposal of medical waste poses harmful and potentially life-threatening risks to our collection and sorting staff, and also presents a risk to community members, pets and wildlife at curbside,” Pannu warned.

The news release offered tips on the safe disposal of this kind of waste.

Medications and prescription drugs can be returned to one's local pharmacy, or – if placed in a sealed container such as a two-litre pop bottle) taken to the household hazardous waste depot. This disposal method also applies to medical sharps (when placed in an appropriate sharps container), and these should be kept separate from medications and prescription drugs.

Items such as IV tubing, IV bags, gauze and latex gloves can be placed in the household garbage, but never in the recycling.

To find your local pharmacy and to learn more about return and collection programs, visit

To find local household hazardous waste depots and to learn more about proper medical waste disposal, visit medicalwaste.