Consider a case where you’ve got a patient who is receiving home care treatment. The chances are that there will be a massive generation of sharp medical waste in your household. Besides, it would be worse if the patient has diabetes, where insulin injection is the order of the day. Now, how do you dispose of those needles?

Sharps are considered hazardous, and besides puncturing your skin, they can expose you to infections unless you dispose of them properly. The best way to get rid of them is to put them in sharps containers before disposing of them at drop-off locations and collection sites.

Most people place their sharps containers in recycling bins. First, this is an easy way of harming trash and recycling workers. Besides, sharps can stick out of the containers, infect handlers with hepatitis and HIV, and other infectious diseases. So, it’s unsafe to dispose of sharps containers in recycling bins.

What’s the best disposal options for sharp containers?

When disposing of sharps containers, it’s important to ensure that they meet the following FDA standards:

  • Leak-resistant
  • Stable and upright
  • Must have a tight-fitting and puncture-proof lid
  • Made of heavy-duty plastic
  • Proper labelling

These standards will help you determine the best disposal option for your sharps containers.

2. Dispose of them through your municipality

The safest way of disposing of sharps containers is to take them to your municipality or township. Many townships have hazardous waste collection programs, and you can consider checking if they accept sharps containers from residents. Visit your local authority’s website to determine their waste collection hours, preparation guidelines, and disposal requirements.

3. Find a local drop-off location

You can also drop off your sharps containers at a local fire station, hospital, doctor’s office, pharmacy, healthcare facility, or a police station.

4. Mail-back programs

Check for mail-back programs in your area. If they’re available, you may opt to use them to dispose of your sharps containers at collection sites. 

5. Read manufacturers' instructions

Usually, sharps containers bear the manufacturer’s instructions about how to dispose of them safely. Check for these guidelines to see if there are suggestions about where you can take the containers.

Why dispose of your sharps containers appropriately?

Safe disposal of sharps containers protects your household and pets from injuries, contamination, and infections. If you throw them into the garbage, needles and syringes may still stick out and put your children, housekeepers, pets, and trash collectors at risk.

It’s also advisable to keep sharps containers and medical wastes out of landfills to protect the environment.

Conclusion

Improper disposal of sharps containers is equally hazardous as the sharps themselves. Sharps waste can leak out and injure the handler, exposing them to infection risks. Therefore, it's essential to package the sharps waste appropriately before disposing of them. If you want to learn more about sharps containers disposal guidelines, contact your municipal authority to find out other safe disposal options.