Coronavirus Vaccine Disposal for Healthcare Facilities

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

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Center

Access the latest COVID-19 guidance, regulatory updates, our response, and valuable resources, such as our packaging guidelines and webinars.

Learn more by visiting our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Center.

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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 Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Contact us for a free quote today

Flexible Service Options to Meet Your Needs

Option 1:
Convenient and Safe Mail Back Program for Vaccine Sharps Disposal

  • Self-service mail back model where you fill containers and ship them back for compliant disposal
  • Our containers are available in a variety of sizes and were designed to accommodate an additional 20-25% more sharps waste as compared to other sharps containers of similar sizes and volumes
  • The All-in-One Sharps Management mail back kit includes everything needed to properly collect and safely dispose of small quantities of sharps. With convenient auto-replenishment option, we make it easy to manage container inventory.
  • Our reusable sharps mail back containers are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared to accept a variety of sharps. The mail back kits are Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant and USPS approved, containing everything required to send sharps waste for disposal.

To purchase a Sharps Disposal Mail Back System, visit our Online Store.

For more information, visit our Sharps Mail Back Solutions for Non-Acute Care.

Option 2:
Compliant 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 and a nationwide network 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 Training, Department of Transportation (DOT) 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 healthcare regulated waste streams including secure information destruction with expertise in related compliance training and sustainability consulting. Our network of localized team members across the country maintain a 97% on-time pickup rate.1

Your Risk Reduction Experts

We reduce your risk through full chain of custody and proprietary, real-time tracking systems in addition to compliance experts to keep you informed of federal, provincial, and local regulatory developments.

Your Sustainability Champion

In 2022, our eco-conscious products and sustainability guidance allowed our customers to recycle 1 billion pounds of paper, safely dispose of 38 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste; and avoid greenhouse gas emissions while diverting 101 million pounds of sharps waste plastic from landfills.2

1. Source: Stericycle data, 2022
2. Source: Stericycle data, 2022

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