Is Syringe Biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

We use billions of needles and syringes worldwide each year, so what should we do when we’re finished with them? Find out if syringes are biodegradable in this article.

Syringes are not biodegradable. They are made of plastic that takes hundreds of years to degrade into microplastic.

Since syringes can only be used once, we need to find out the correct way to dispose of them. You can learn more about the right practices to follow coming up in this article.

Is Used Syringe Biodegradable or Nonbiodegradable?

Just like unused syringes, used syringes are non biodegradable. This is because of the materials that the syringe is made up of. 

The body and plunger of a syringe are made from polypropylene. This is a synthetic resin that is non biodegradable. 

The seal on the plunger of a syringe is made from rubber, another material that is not biodegradable.  

Why are these materials non biodegradable? Because they are not natural materials, they are synthetic. 

These synthetic compounds take a very long time to break down. And as they do, they damage the environment that they’re in. 

It is estimated that polypropylene alone takes between 20 and 30 years to decompose. Rubber is said to take anywhere between 50 to 80 years to decompose.

Since syringes do not biodegrade, what is the best solution for our planet? The best hope is for more research and manufacturing to go into the worldwide distribution of eco-friendly syringes. 

These syringes can only be used once and do not harm the environment. They decompose without contaminating the environment.

Could something like an eco-friendly syringe really exist? Yes! In fact, they already do. 

There are disposable syringes in development that are made from polyester resin that decomposes without harming the environment. 

We hope that the technology that makes these syringes can be improved so that they are a viable option for use all around the world.

Is Syringe Hazardous?

There are certain items that we do not come into a lot of contact with. So, when we do, we need to know how to handle them properly and dispose of them safely. 

Doing so helps us to look after our health properly. So what about syringes? Are they hazardous? Yes, syringes are hazardous. Here are just a few reasons why. 

  • Syringes come into contact with human blood and other bodily fluids
  • Syringes may come into contact with infectious fluids
  • Piercing or skin contact with a used syringe may put you at risk of contracting an infection

With all of that said, there are a number of things that you should be aware of when disposing of syringes. 

Here are a few guidelines that will help you to stay safe while handling them at work. 

  1. Put leather gloves on
  2. Make sure that you have located the nearest sharps container
  3. Never disconnect the needle from the syringe and never try to put the cap back on the needle. Put the needle and the syringe into the sharps container.
  4. When the sharps container is full, contact your local hazardous waste authorities. They will be able to organize the safe disposal of the sharps container for you.
    1. NOTE: If you find a syringe in a public place, do not pick it up. Report it to a member of staff.
Are Syringes Reusable?

Are Syringes Reusable?

Syringes come into contact with human blood and other bodily fluids. Some of the fluids they come into contact with are infectious. 

This is why it is extremely important to discard a syringe after you have used it. You cannot use a needle or a syringe twice. 

Doing so can transmit disease. It could put you at risk of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or even HIV. 

Since syringes are not reusable, what should you do with one once you have finished with it? When you are done with a syringe, you should put it into a sharps container.

Do not attempt to disconnect the needle from the syringe or put the cap back on it. You should then contact your local hazardous waste authorities for them to dispose of it safely for you.

Are Syringes Plastic?

Billions of syringes are used around the world each year. Because of their hazardous nature, we cannot decompose them. 

They also are made from materials that make their decomposition impossible. What exactly are syringes made from? Here is a breakdown of their materials:

The part of the syringeThe material it is made out of


The seal on the plunger



Polyisoprene (rubber)

Stainless steel

As you can see, syringes themselves are made from a combination of polypropylene and polyisoprene. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer.

How Are Used Syringes Disposed Of?

Are you wondering how you should safely dispose of used syringes? Syringes are a type of hazardous waste as they come into contact with human bodily fluids. 

You should handle them with care. Here are a couple of options you have for disposing of them. 

  • Talk to your local pharmacy. Your pharmacy might have a sharps disposal container. 
  • Put them in your home hazardous waste box. You should contact your local authorities before you do this. Every county has different disposal instructions.
  • Put them in a black mail container
  • When using syringes at your place of work, put them in the nearest sharps container when you have finished with them

Final Thoughts

It’s important to become familiar with items that we do not use on a day-to-day basis. This way we can know how to dispose of them and how we can keep ourselves safe. 

But what about syringes, how should you dispose of them? Is syringe biodegradable? 

As this article has explained, syringes are not biodegradable. This is because they are made of a combination of polypropylene and rubber and these materials do not biodegrade. 

You should make sure you dispose of syringes and needles properly to reduce the risk of infection. If you see a syringe in a public place, you should report it immediately. 

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