How Do I Dispose of My Syringes and Lancets?

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these essential tools properly.

Knowing the Risks

If lancets and syringes are not disposed of properly, they can end up in places they don’t belong such as beaches. You should never place loose needles or lancets in a household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and you should also never flush them down the toilet.

Disposing of syringes and lancets incorrectly puts trash and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members and children at risk of being harmed. Keep in mind that there are 9 million Americans who use needles and other sharp tools to manage their medical conditions at home. This amounts to more than 3 billion used needles and other “sharps” that must be disposed of outside of hospitals and health care centers.

Storing Lancets and Syringes After Use

You can reduce the dangers of this type of waste by making simple changes at home. Begin by creating a safe container that will hold all of your used lancets and syringes. Make sure that the container you are going to use is made out of strong plastic so that needles cannot puncture it. The container should also have a small opening on top with a cap or lid that screws on tightly to prevent its contents from spilling. Many household items make good containers such as milk jugs, plastic bleach jugs, plastic liquid detergent bottles, and even coffee cans. When you have filled up your container, make sure to close the lid tightly with strong tape.

Try to keep the container in the same room where you usually take your insulin shot or test your blood sugar. Do not use glass containers because they can break easily, which also applies to lightweight plastic containers. If you are using a recyclable container to dispose of your syringes and lancets, make sure that it is labeled and visibly different so that it does not end up in a recycling bin by mistake. Lastly, make sure to keep your container out of reach of small children and pets.

Disposing of Containers

Once you've filled up a container that safely guards your used syringes and lancets, you must find a place where you can dispose of it, as this container cannot be simply thrown out with the regular garbage. Every community has its own guidelines, and it is important to become aware of them as well as the varying programs available near you. Check with your local trash removal services or health department to see which disposal methods are available in your area. Some examples of disposal methods are:

  1. Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites: These are chosen collection sites, such as doctors' offices, hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, medical waste facilities, and police or fire stations. These services can be free or may have a nominal fee.
  2. Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites: These are local public household hazardous waste collection sites that also commonly accept hazardous materials such as household cleaners, paints and motor oil.
  3. Mail-Back Programs: There are programs that allow you to mail certain FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers to a collection site for proper disposal, usually for a fee. Fees may vary depending on the size of the container. Remember to follow the container manufacturer's instructions because mail-back programs may have specific requirements on how to label sharps disposal containers.
  4. Residential Special Waste Pick-Up Services: Your can also look to see if your community offers special waste pick-up services that send trained special waste handlers to collect syringe and lancet disposal containers from your home. These kinds of services typically have a fee and many also have special requirements for the types of containers they will collect. In some cases, you may also be required to call and request pick-ups, but some also offer regular pick-up schedules.

Sources: FDA.com, EPA.gov
Photo: Pixabay

Get Free Diabetic Supplies

For a limited time only, you can reduce diabetic supplies costs by more than 90%. Enrolling just take a few minutes. Fill out the form, speak to a representative and get diabetic supplies delivered to your door at little or no cost. Also, you will get a free Diabetes Meal Plan from a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator.

Enter your information below to see if you qualify.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

More Articles

You may think beer, wine, and liquor would be categorized as food, but in reality, alcohol is a drug. Just like medications, alcohol has powerful...

Hot weather does not directly alter blood glucose levels. However, sweltering temperatures affect our metabolism and the release of hormones. Heat...

When it comes to certain foods, there are always questions as to whether or not a diabetic can have them without...

Those who have not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can greatly reduce their susceptibility by doing one key...

Although diabetes is common, many people who have been diagnosed do not completely understand how it develops or whether it is hereditary....

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

A diabetes meal plan is a guide indicating what types of foods, and how much of them, people should eat at meal and snack time. Following a meal...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

=It’s helpful to know the difference between a food’s total grams of carbohydrate, and net grams of carbohydrate since only net carbs affect blood...

For many diabetics, muscle pain is just a normal part of life. Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels can cause what's called diabetic...