More than a billion syringes, needles, and lancets are used for diabetes care in the United States each year. If they’re not disposed of safely, these items, known as “sharps,” can injure other people.
- Never throw loose sharps into the trash, whether at home or away from home.
- Never flush sharps down the toilet.
- Never handle another persons syringe unless a healthcare professional trains you in proper injection technique and disposal.
- Put all of your syringes in a Home Sharps Container (you can purchase these at drug stores or through BD’s website — or you can use an old coffee can with lid taped into place or an old bleach bottle)
- Keep your sharps container away from children.
Remove needles from syringes and pen needle units using a BD Safe-Clip™ clipper device and put the rest of the syringe or pen needle in your Home Sharps Container. Don’t try to recap or clip a needle that has been used by another person. This can lead to accidental needle sticks, which may cause serious infections. Don’t attempt to remove the needle without the BD Safe-Clip™ clipper device because the needles could fall, fly off, or get lost and injure someone.
When your Sharps Container is full, seal it and check with the public health department in your community how to dispose of it properly. Your pharmacy of choice may also have a program to dispose of your used sharps. Only as a last resort, put it in a trash receptacle – not a recycling bin – because syringes, pen needles, and lancets aren’t recyclable.
The rules and regulations regarding sharps disposal are different in towns and counties around the country, so check with your local sanitation or health department. For additional information on the availability of safe disposal programs in your area or for information on setting up a community disposal program, contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643.
BD ( Becton, Dickinson) now offers the best option for Safe Needle Disposal, the BD™ Sharps Disposal by Mail system. It encompasses containment, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal and tracking of sharps, all in one package.
Here’s how the system works:
- The BD Sharps Disposal by Mail can be purchased in your local drugstore, the container holds up to 300 pen needles or lancets, or up to 100 insulin syringes.
- After use put your syringe, pen needle or lancet into the container BD™ Sharps Disposal by Mail.
- When full, the sharps container is sealed and placed inside a red bag, which is then placed inside the outer postage prepaid mailing box.
- The user fills out the tracking form and keeps a copy for their records.
- Give the closed postage paid box to your mail carrier or bring it to the post office.
- When the mailing box reaches the treatment facility, the tracking form is scanned and a certificate of destruction is mailed back to you confirming the destruction of your sharps.
If you have any questions about throwing away syringes or lancets, call BD toll free: 1.888.BD CARES (232.2737).