If you’re in the medical field, you know the importance of properly disposing of used needles and other sharp objects. But even if you don’t work in a medical setting, handling sharps disposal properly is essential to protect yourself and others from contamination. Read on for some tips for keeping yourself safe when handling these potentially dangerous items.
What are Sharps?
Sharps are used needles, but they also include the following:
- Lancets (for drawing blood)
- Tattoo needles
Sharps can be found in various places, including hospitals, doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Unfortunately, they are often discarded improperly in trash bins at home or work. This can expose medical personnel handling them and the general public to serious health risks, including injury or disease transmissions such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV/AIDS.
You need to follow three steps for waste that can get into a garbage bag and be discarded in the trash.
Step 1: Empty the contents of the syringe or needle into a sharps container. If you use an empty plastic bottle as your sharps container, remove any residual liquid before adding your used syringe or needle.
Step 2: Recap your syringe or needle tightly and place it back into its original packaging (if applicable). If you don’t have time for this step at home, consider doing it at work so you can safely dispose of them together later on! Remember—never recap needles if they aren’t scorched because doing so could result in leakage, which could cause injury.
Step 3: Wrap up your used syringes with newspaper or another type of paper product before placing them inside an appropriate sharps container for transport.
Disposing of Used Sharps
The best way to dispose of your used sharps is with a sharps container. These containers are available at most pharmacies and home healthcare stores. They look like large, rigid plastic syringes with screw-on lids. You can also label any sturdy container with a lid “SHARPS.”
When you’re ready to throw out your used sharps container or dump out its contents, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly in soap and water after handling the container or emptying it into the trash.
- Take the container outside if possible (even if this means taking it through an alleyway or behind a building) so that no one else will be exposed to its contents while they’re getting rid of their trash.
- If there’s room in your household’s refuse bin, put the lid on tightly before placing it inside; otherwise, keep using individual bags until you run out (or make sure there’s enough space so you can place them inside without having to fold over or compress them).
Types of Sharps Disposal Containers
There are many types and styles of sharps containers, including:
- Disposable plastic or cardboard containers (red or blue) with various capacities. These can be used for one-time or multiple uses if the user sterilises them after each use.
- Sharps containers with a lid that screws on them to keep debris from spilling out. They typically have large capacities and are used for long periods until they’re filled, at which point they should be replaced.
Tips for Purchasing Sharps disposal container
Several types of sharps containers are available at your local pharmacy, medical supply store and online. The containers come with or without lids.
Sharps containers are made of plastic and are available in different colours, such as white, blue and red. They also come in various sizes ranging from 1 gallon to 5 gallons depending on how much-used material you will be storing.