How to Safely Dispose of Used Household Needles and Medical Sharps
(Family Features) When it comes to disposing used household medical needles or sharps, safety is the point. Every day, millions of people around the United States use needles, lancets and syringes – otherwise known as sharps – to manage health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, cancer or auto-immune diseases from the comfort of their own homes or while on the go. Some commonly used medical sharps include:
- Needles – fine, slender, hollow pieces of metal, typically attached to syringes, used to inject medication under the skin or withdraw fluid from the body
- Lancets, also called “fingersticks” – often used by people with diabetes to get drops of blood for testing
- Auto injectors, including epinephrine pens – syringes pre-filled with fluid medication designed to be self-injected into the body
- Infusion sets – tubing systems with needles used to deliver drugs to the body
- Connection needles – needles that connect to a tube used to transfer fluids in and out of the body
Managing a health condition can be overwhelming enough, so learning how to dispose of used household sharps may not be top of mind for those who use them.
Even for sharps users looking for safe disposal resources, finding state or local regulations can be challenging, but safely disposing of household sharps is an important issue and can help prevent injury.
A resource like SafetyIsThePoint.org provides consumers with free resources and up-to-date information about how to safely dispose of their household used sharps. This resource helps connect sharps users with safe disposal options across the United States and offers state-specific disposal guides.
“Our years of research have shown that people want to do the right thing with their used household sharps, but they did not know where to turn for guidance,” said Bruce Taylor, senior director of government affairs and market access at Dexcom, one of the companies that supports the free public education resource. “SafetyIsThePoint.org takes the guesswork out of household sharps disposal by giving consumers easy instructions no matter where they live or travel.”
People who use sharps can often dispose of them at home. It’s as simple as 1-2-3:
- Place used household sharps in a strong, plastic container like a laundry detergent or bleach bottle.
- When the container is 75% full, seal it tightly with duct tape and label it “do not recycle.”
- Place the sealed container in regular household trash.
People in most areas of the United States can follow the steps above. In states or counties that do not allow household disposal, sharps users can use the ZIP code search function at SafetyIsThePoint.org to find local drop-off locations, such as household hazardous waste collection centers and drop boxes or supervised collection points.
To learn more about disposing of used needles and sharps safely, visit SafetyIsThePoint.org.Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman at desk)