Safe and proper disposal of pen needles, insulin syringes and lancets (also known as 'sharps') reduces the risk of injury and infection to others. It's a
public health priority!
You should never throw loose needles or other sharps in the garbage, flush them down the toilet or put them in recycling containers.
Safe Disposal of Sharps At Home And At Work
Public health laws and regulations for sharps disposal differ from town to town and county to county across the U.S., so it's important to find out about local guidelines and safe disposal programs near you. Here's how:
- Ask your health care provider or local pharmacist. They may even have programs to help dispose of your used needles.
- Check with your local sanitation, health department or trash removal company.
- Contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at (800) 643-1643 or online at www.safeneedledisposal.org. You can also check here for a list of mail-back service companies. When contacting a mail-back service company, be sure to ask if their service is approved by the U.S. Postal Service.
Safe Sharps Disposal While You're Traveling
Safe needle disposal is important no matter where you are - at home, at work or on the road. So never place used needles in the trash in hotel rooms, on airplanes or in public restrooms where they could injure cleaning staff or other people. Some of these places have sharps disposal containers available for your use, be sure to ask.
Protect yourself and your family, friends, neighbors, pets and others by correctly disposing of sharps. While it is best to use OSHA approved sharps containers, and
some areas may require their use, many areas allow you to dispose of sharps in a hard plastic or metal leak-proof, puncture-resistant container with a tight fitting lid
or screw top closure (such as an empty laundry detergent bottle or coffee can). If you use this method, please be sure to adhere a biohazard sharps label to the
container before you start to use it. The label on the container should be clearly visible, noting that the container holds sharps waste. Always keep the container
out of reach of children.
When the container is full, seal the lid securely and dispose of it properly according to community regulations. Never place the container with recyclable trash because insulin syringes, pen needles and lancets are not recyclable.
Each year, more than a billion insulin syringes, pen needles and lancets are used for diabetes care in the Unites States. To safeguard your family, community and environment, please be sure to dispose of your sharps safely - and properly!