Millions of Americans use sharps in their at-home medical regimens and wonder how to dispose of needles and other medical waste. For example, where do all the needles go from injectable medications administered outside of a medical facility? Is there an environmentally-friendly option when disposing of sharps at home? Whether you use a needle daily or just once, how to dispose of them can be safe, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.
Why Can’t I Throw Sharps Directly in the Trash?
Discarding sharps in the trash threatens the health and safety of everyone in the home. Loose or improperly contained needles expose those nearby to pokes. Accidental needle pokes can lead to injuries and infections. Therefore, it is crucial to know that placing used sharps in the trash is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Which Containers are Appropriate to Store and Dispose of Needles?
Used sharps should always be kept in a puncture-resistant container, such as an FDA-approved sharps container. Use a hard plastic jug with a close-able cover in a pinch, such as an empty laundry detergent bottle. Then, when you’re ready to discard them, a puncture-proof container will prevent dangerous needle pokes from within trash bags. Unfortunately, other plastic vessels like water and soda bottles are not puncture-resistant. As a result, these will not protect others from exposure to used sharps.
Can I Recycle Used Sharps?
No, sharps are not recyclable. Simply put, sharps containers or laundry detergent bottles that contain needles SHOULD NOT be placed in your home recycle bin.
Where Can I Go For Information About Local Sharps Disposal?
- Sharps disposal regulations differ by state. You can check your state’s disposal regulations here.
- If your medical regimen requires sharps, your clinic can also provide more information on disposing of needles.
- Finally, if local disposal is not available in your area, MERI’s Mailback Kits are a safe, cost-effective solution.