A Guide to Disposing Of Your Tattoo Waste the Correct Way

Creating your own DIY tattoo at home? If so, it’s important you learn how to dispose of your stick and poke tattoo waste once you’re done. Read on for more information.

stick and poke tattoo waste

DIY tattoos are becoming increasingly popular with many creating their own homemade designs from the comforts of their living rooms. Despite their popularity, they have generated some bad press because of the risks associated with them. But, it’s not just the act of tattooing that comes with health and safety concerns. Correctly disposing of tattoo waste is just as important if you want to minimize the risk of infection and the spread of disease.

Luckily, there are ways you can dispose of tattoo waste without putting yourself and others at risk. Here, we’re going to take a closer look at the different types of tattoo waste, why it’s so important to dispose of it in the right way, and how to responsibly get rid of your used tattoo equipment.

Why Is It Important to Dispose of Tattoo Waste in a Specific Way?

If you’ve created your own tattoos, you probably already know about the various health and safety risks you need to keep in mind. Aside from the fact that your tattoo can get infected if you don’t take care of it properly, you also need to consider the spread of bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, among others.

Well, the concerns listed above don’t just disappear once you finish tattooing. You need to remember that the needles, ink cups, wipes, and all other equipment are also contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids.

Furthermore, the risk is not just limited to you and the person you’re tattooing. Let’s say you simply chuck your used materials in the garbage. If this is the case, everyone who comes in contact with your trash is also at risk of contamination. With this in mind, you must be aware of the correct way of disposing of your tattoo waste.

The Different Types of Stick and Poke Tattoo Waste

Unlike popular belief, the waste you are left with once a tattoo is complete is not solely limited to needles. Here’s a breakdown:


Sharps refers to anything sharp that has been used during the tattooing process. This, of course, includes any needles you use. But, it also includes any other sharp objects. For example, if you break a glass near or around your work station or you use a razor to shave the area, these should be disposed of as sharps.

Medical Waste

All other equipment used during a tattoo should be treated as medical waste and should, therefore, be disposed of as such rather than being thrown in the regular trash. This includes but may not be limited to:

  • Tattoo wipes
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • Cotton swabs
  • Face masks
  • Protective surface covers
  • Leftover ointment
  • Ink cups and any leftover ink in them

The key is to keep all of your equipment in one area when tattooing to ensure that you don’t accidentally dispose of medical waste in the regular trash. Regardless of whether you’re tattooing at home or you are working on becoming a professional tattoo artist, you should keep the process as organized as possible every step of the way to minimize the risks.

Professional Waste Disposal Services

Today, most countries have professional medical and sharps waste disposal services. These companies work with pharmacies, medical establishments, and of course, tattoo studios to mitigate the spread of BBPs.

Typically, biohazardous waste should be handled by a professional company to ensure that you are in compliance with the waste laws in your country. Please note that legislations vary from one country to the next so you must research your local, state, and federal laws before you start tattooing. If you fail to comply with your local legislation, you may end up with a fine, or worse, jail time!

Choosing the Right Disposal Equipment

The key to disposing of your tattoo the correct way is having the right disposal equipment. Some companies sell professional stick and poke tattoo kits that come with needle disposal containers to help prevent needle sticks. Alternatively, if you don’t have one of these containers, you can use a bottle with a lid. In this case, just drop the needles in the bottle once you’re done with them and screw on the lid tightly. You can then take this bottle to your local waste disposal facility.

When it comes to other hazardous waste such as wipes, old inks, and used ink cups, to name a few, you should put all of these in a plastic bag. Once all of your waste is in the bag, tie it shut or use tape to seal the bag. Then, take this to your medical waste disposal facility with the used needles.

If you’d like to try your hand at tattooing from the comforts of home, check out our online store today! We have a variety of professional tattoo kits that all come with needles, inks, as well as health and safety materials. We also include a “how-to” guide in all of our kits so that you can learn a little more about BBPs and how to avoid them with the correct waste disposal process.