Proper Disposal of Sharp Containers

Proper Disposal of Sharp Containers

Proper disposal of sharp containers is essential for preventing the spread of diseases and keeping healthcare workers and the environment safe. A sharp container is a secure, hard plastic container designed for the safe disposal of used needles, syringes, and other sharp medical instruments to prevent injuries, disease transmission, and protect the environment.

Why are Sharps Containers needed?

According to the WHO, more than sixteen billion injections are administered annually worldwide. (3) Individuals with medical conditions such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders, and psoriasis, require the use of sharps often multiple times a day.

  • Needle: A very fine, slender, hollow piece of metal used to inject medication under the skin.
  • Syringe: A device to which a needle is attached in order to inject medication into or withdraw fluid from the body.
  • Lancet also called a “finger stick”: Instruments with a short, two-edged blade used to get drops of blood for testing. Lancets are commonly used in the treatment of diabetes.
  • Auto injector, including epinephrine pens: Syringe Pre-filled with fluid medication designed to be self-injected into the body.
  • Infusion set: Tubing system with a needle used to deliver drugs to the body.
  • Connection needle/set: A needle that connects to a tube used to transfer fluids in and out of the body. This is generally used for patients on home hemodialysis. 
Environmental impacts of improper disposal of sharp containers
  • Risk of injury
  • Pollution of soil and water
  • Contamination of waste streams
  • Risk of transmission of diseases
  • Public health risks

By taking these steps, we can help protect the environment and ensure the safe disposal of medical waste and sharp containers.

Can I reuse a sharp container?

No, sharp containers are designed for single use only. Reusing a sharp container can increase the risk of injury and the spread of diseases.

How do I properly use a sharp container?

  • Place the container in a convenient location for easy access.
  • Use the container to dispose of needles, syringes, lancets, and other sharp medical instruments.
  • Do not overfill the container. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on when to dispose of the container.
  • Do not attempt to empty or reuse the container.
  • Dispose of the full container according to local regulations. Some options include returning it to a healthcare provider or using a mail-back program.
  • Do not throw sharp objects in the regular trash.

What should I do if I accidentally get poked with a used needle?

  • If you are accidentally poked with a used needle.
  • Immediately wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Inform your healthcare provider of the incident.

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