DO’s and DON’Ts - Safe Needle and Other Sharps Disposal


Do

  • Immediately place used needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle-sticks, cuts, or punctures from loose sharps.
  • Use an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, if possible. If an FDA-cleared container isn't available, some organizations and community guidelines recommend using a heavy-duty plastic household container (i.e. laundry detergent container) as an alternative.
  • Be prepared — carry a portable sharps disposal container for travel.
  • Follow your community guidelines for getting rid of your sharps disposal container.
  • Ask your health care provider, veterinarian, local hospital or pharmacist, where and how you can obtain an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container; if they can dispose of your used needles and other sharps, or if they know of safe disposal programs near you.
  • Keep all needles and other sharps and sharps disposal containers out of reach of children and pets.

All sharps disposal containers should be:

  • Made of a heavy-duty plastic
  • Able to close with a tight-fitting, puncture-proof lid, without sharps being able to come out
  • Upright and stable during use
  • Leak-resistant
  • Properly labeled

Don't

  • Throw needles and other sharps into the trash.
  • Flush needles and other sharps down the toilet.
  • Put needles and other sharps in your recycling bin — they are not recyclable.
  • Try to remove, bend, break, or recap needles used by another person. This can lead to accidental needle sticks, which may cause serious infections.
  • Attempt to remove the needle without a needle clipper device because the needles could fall, fly off, or get lost and injure someone.

For more information contact your safety and health specialist or visit www.fda.gov/safesharpsdisposal.

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