Last week, I told you the best way to dispose of unwanted or expired medication. This week, I’d like to give you information on the best way to dispose of Household Sharps.
Sharps, Inc. explains, “Sharps is the term used to describe any item that is capable of puncturing the skin such as syringes, needles, lancets, broken glass with blood on it, scalpels, etc. Because these ‘sharps’ potentially have disease-carrying blood or other potentially infectious materials on them, they are capable of ‘injecting’ that blood or fluid into anyone who comes in contact with them.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation adds, “The best way to protect trash handlers and sewage treatment workers against disease or injury and avoid attracting drug abusers looking for syringes to reuse is to follow these guidelines for containment and disposal of sharps.”
New York State has produced a publication called “How to Safely Dispose of Household Sharps”, which you can download here.
To contain the sharps safely at home:
- You can purchase a sharps container at a drug store or from the company who provides your injectable medicine.
- Alternatively, use a puncture-proof plastic container with a tight-fitting screw top, such as a plastic soda bottle or bleach bottle. Don’t use glass because it can break. (Coffee cans are not recommended because the plastic lids come off too easily.)
- Label the container by writing “Contains Sharps” with a waterproof marker directly on the container or on masking tape on the container.
- Once you have used a syringe or lancet, immediately put it into your container and screw on the top. Don’t clip, bend or recap the needles because you could injure yourself.
Keep the container away from children.
- When the container is full, screw on the cap tightly. Seal it with heavy-duty tape to be extra safe.
- Bring it to any hospital or nursing home in New York State. Call first to find out specifically when and where you can bring used sharps.
To find a location near you, go this site and click on the name of your county.
Sharps, Inc. also offers the Sharps Disposal by Mail System® , which includes a sharps container in a choice of sizes along with postage prepaid return shipping.
An important thing to remember is: do not put sharps containers out with the recyclable plastics. Sharps are not recyclable.