How to Properly Dispose of Your Sharps: Insulin Pen Needles, Syringes, and Lancets

If you battle diabetes, proper and safe disposal of your sharps—your insulin pen needles, syringes, and lancets—is always a concern. These items need to be disposed of in such a way that they do not cause harm to other people, pets, or the environment. A sharps container could be a simple solution.

First and foremost – keep your sharps out of the garbage!

Your sharps should not get put into your trash or the recycle bin. If they are, the people that pick up your trash may be exposed to injury, potentially severe. Tetanus, HIV, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases can be transmitted through improperly discarded sharps, so it is always in your best interests to have an appropriate sharps container handy.

Minimizing risk from sharps

Here are ten handy tips for proper sharps disposal:

  1. Purchase a sharp’s container, one that is suitable for your needs. This will keep all of your sharps safely hidden from others and may prevent a serious injury. Sharps containers come in a range of sizes, one of which may be right for you.
  2. If you use syringes or pen needles, always replace the cap on the syringe before you place it in the sharps container, just to be extra safe.
  3. Invest in a needle clipper. A needle clipper allows you to cut off syringe and pen needles and will hold them inside a reservoir until such time that you can properly dispose of them.
  4. Always handle sharps carefully. Use retrieval tongs or a small pair of pliers, if possible.
  5. When walking, point the needle downwards, away from your body to minimize risk.
  6. Always secure your sharps container so that it cannot be accessed easily by others, especially children.
  7. When your sharps container has reached its fill line, it needs to be disposed of. Take it in to your local pharmacy. Most pharmacies provide this service free of charge, but it’s never a bad idea to speak with a pharmacy team member before you begin. If your pharmacy does not have a sharps collection program, you may have to take it to a household hazardous waste collection depot. Check with your local waste management organization for locations in your area.
  8. Do not overfill your sharps container. Filling beyond the fill line increases the risk of accidental injury caused by a needle-stick.
  9. When you are away from home, bring a travel-sized sharps disposal unit with you, just in case you need it. Be sure all your medications are labeled properly with the drug store label. If you are traveling by air, familiarize yourself with the TSA regulations around sharps and sharps disposal.
  10. Finally, never reuse a sharps container. When your container has reached the fill line, take it to an appropriate disposal site and start using a new one.

As always, keep your sharps container out of reach of children and pets. FDA-approved sharps disposal containers are inexpensive and are available in many sizes. Shop our selection today.

Disclaimer. The content, information, and links on this page are intended for informational and educational purposes only, and does NOT constitute any medical professional advice.