Coronavirus Vaccine Disposal for Healthcare Facilities

Your one-stop for comprehensive vaccine disposal guidance and tailored solutions for managing COVID-19 vaccination waste.

We’re in This Together

Stericycle has mobilized at each stage of the COVID-19 pandemic to best serve our customers and their communities. We have been partnering with our network of stakeholders from state and federal governments as well as with vaccine manufacturers throughout the development of vaccination rollout plans. To assist in your vaccination preparation and administration efforts, we’re providing the most up-to-date guidance on how to manage regulated medical waste (RMW) generated from COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Stericycle’s Vaccine Waste Disposal Guidance

The recommended guidance suggests the disposal of COVID-19 vaccine related wastes should follow the same processes used when administering other vaccines. Remember to consider state regulatory requirements as disposal requirements may vary.

Vaccine Packaging


Used syringes must be captured in disposable or reusable sharps containers and disposed of as regulated medical waste (RMW).

Empty Vials

The Department of Defense has recommended that all vial waste be captured in sharps containers to mitigate potential diversion and illicit intent. Once placed in a sharps container, the container should be managed as RMW.

Other Medical Waste

Gloves, gauze, cotton balls, bandages, and the like should not be placed in disposable sharps containers. Those items can go into the regular trash, or if considered potentially infectious material, disposed in RMW containers.

Vaccine Packaging

Vaccine Packaging

This material can be disposed of as regulated medical waste. Please refer to your vaccine manufacturer's instructions for packaging waste such as trays and boxes.

Full or Partial Vials (also called Residual Doses)

Once placed in a sharps container, these items should be managed as regulated medical waste or as non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste.

Dry Ice

Stericycle does not offer services to safely dispose of dry ice.  While dry ice is not medical waste, it should be handled and disposed of by following official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Collection and Disposal of COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Waste

  • Full-service model where a Stericycle driver collects, transports and disposes of the medical waste and replenishes container supply
  • Unused containers and liners allow for compact storage and easy assembly when required
  • Flexible scheduling to serve you where and when you need it with a 98%1 on-time service rate.
  • Access to our customer portal,, to not only manage your Stericycle account (i.e. pickups, invoicing etc.), but also to complete online Biohazardous Waste Segregation Training and Hazardous Materials Training as well as other compliance resources.

Already have a Stericycle service but need additional sharps container, visit our Online Store to order some for your facility.

Why Stericycle?

Your Single Nationwide Partners

We manage all major waste streams and offer compliance training, delivering with over 30 years of experience and our global fleet of more than 6,000 trucks.

Your Sustainability Champion

In 2022, our eco-conscious products and sustainability guidance allowed our customers to recycle 454,000 tonnes  of paper, safely dispose of 17,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical waste; and avoid greenhouse gas emissions while diverting 45,000 tonnes of sharps waste plastic from landfills.1

1. Source: Stericycle data, 2022.