All About Sharps Disposal

First off, I want to thank all of you who commented on my recent post about “Diabetes Trash.” I did not know about those nifty needle-cutters from BD; I’m learning so much from you all!

The issue, of course, was what to do with used sharps when you’re out and about. One commenter noted that there’s always the “mint container” option, as in carrying an old tin around with you to store used lancets, pen needles, etc., until you can dispose of them properly. Right. I need to get on that. (It’s just that my purse is already so full of supplies…)

Mr. Diabetes Resource himself, David Mendosa, also just posted an article on the Disintegrator, a new mini-incinerator for syringes and other small sharps, from Safeguard Medical Technologies in Ohio. This thing has separate ports for needles and lancets, and cremates them completely into ashes. Since it’s still very new, it’s pricey at ca. $100, but the company expects to push the retail price down soon, Mendosa reports. It does look small, so maybe even convenient to carry around. Certainly would be optimal for home use!

As K.Weaver notes, right now most of us are stuck with sub-optimal options when it comes to home disposal. Of course, you need some kind of plastic Sharps Container. Most of us were told to either purchase a sharps container at the pharmacy, or use an empty hard plastic fabric softener container or such, clearly marking the word “sharps” on it.

And where do we dispose of this objectionable canister? Images

I’ve been lucky that my community trash collection agency has not complained, but I understand that many are not keen on this option (risk of injury for workers if the city regularly crushes and grinds up its trash).

In some communities, hospitals will accept sharps containers to dispose of along with their mass quantities of similar items. But this is not always the case, and can be inconvenient if the hospital’s is a fair drive (which I’m betting it is).

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to turn in sharps containers to the local County Health Department, which sometimes even gives out free containers when accepting full ones for disposal. Time to call your county to find out…

But if none of this works for you, there are a few other ways to go. Several companies have programs offering mail-in kits. They send you containers that you can fill and return in exchange for new empties. Here are a few helpful sites I’ve found for this (click on ‘em):

* Sharps Compliance Corp.

* GRP Medical Services

* BD Disposal by Mail

* MacGill Products

And there’s also lots of good info at SafeNeedleDisposal.org, a non-profit coalition of businesses, community groups, non-profit associations and local, state and federal government entities lobbying to this end. Worth checking out, if only to remind yourself how important it is to be careful with old sharps.

Now y’all be sure and let me know which of the above services you find most convenient and why — ’cause it’s all about convenience (right after safety), yes? Happy disposing!

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2 Responses

  1. Living With Diabetes
    Living With Diabetes July 22, 2005 at 8:53 am | | Reply

    Amy’s gone a bit further on the Sharps issue

    Diabetes Mine: All About Sharps Disposal I’m glad the issue hasn’t “bitten” her as hard as it has me. It’s getting to be a daily issue for me again, since the Symlin is an injectable. I’m also worried about it…

  2. Andy
    Andy November 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm | | Reply

    Can you please suggest what are the best places in house to store a container with sharps (before it’s full)?

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