According to the CDC, over 8 million people in the US use needles, syringes, and lancets to manage medical conditions at home. With such a large number of people using sharps on a daily basis, it is important to ensure that these items are disposed of properly. Unfortunately, self-injectors are not typically regulated and often do not know the safest disposal methods, leading to haphazard habits that put the community at risk.
Sanitation and sewage treatment workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children are especially at risk of being stuck by used sharps. In light of the risks associated with unsafe disposal practices, many states and municipalities are offering safe, convenient disposal options to sharps users. By making these options available, we can help to keep our communities safe from harm.
What are the Dangers of Used Sharps?
Needle-stick injuries are a serious public health concern, as they can lead to the transmission of diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C. Victims of needle-stick injuries often face the cost of post-injury testing, disease prevention measures, and counseling, even if no infection or disease was actually spread. This can be a huge financial burden, particularly for those who do not have health insurance. In addition, some diseases can take a long time to appear on test results, leading to months of anxiety and uncertainty. needle-stick injuries are preventable, and states and municipalities can take specific actions to protect their residents from this risk. For example, they can provide educational materials on safe needle handling, distribute free or low-cost sharps containers, and establish laws and regulations to ensure that only properly trained personnel handle needles. By taking these steps, we can help reduce the incidence of needle-stick injuries and improve the health of our community.
Drop-off Collection Sites
Drop-off collection sites provide a safe and easy way for sharps users to dispose of their used needles and syringes. These sites, which are typically located at doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, accept filled sharps containers and prevent the sharps from entering the household waste stream. This allows self-injectors to continue using empty household containers to collect sharps, but ensures that the needles and syringes are disposed of properly. Drop-off collection sites play an important role in keeping our communities safe by preventing accidental needle sticks and protecting the environment from contamination.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites
Many people are not aware that there are special sites for the disposal of household hazardous waste. These sites are specially designed to accept materials that can be harmful to the environment or to human health if not disposed of properly. Common items that can be disposed of at these sites include self-injectors, household cleaners, paints, and motor oil. For self-injectors, it is important to use a special sharps container or, in some cases, an approved household container. These containers can then be taken to the municipal household hazardous waste collection site and placed in the sharps collection bin. This ensures that the used sharps are safely disposed of and do not pose a risk to the community.
Residential Special Waste Pickup Services
Self-injectors often have to deal with used sharps, which can pose a dangerous health hazard if not disposed of properly. Thankfully, many cities and towns offer special waste pickup services specifically for residential customers. With these services, self-injectors can simply place their used sharps in a special container and put it outside their home for collection. The containers are usually similar to recycling containers, so they’re easy to use and easy to identify. Some programs require customers to call for pickup, while others offer regular pickup schedules. Either way, these services provide a safe and convenient way for self-injectors to dispose of their used sharps.
Sharps Containers Mail-Back Programs
Mail-back programs are designed to provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of used sharps. These programs allow individuals and community collection sites to mail used sharps in special containers to a designated collection site. Mail-back programs are an especially good option for rural communities, communities without a medical waste pickup service, and individuals who want to protect their privacy. Used sharps pose a serious danger of infection and injury, so it is important to dispose of them properly. Mail-back programs can help to reduce the risk of accidents and protect the public from exposure to dangerous diseases.
Syringe Exchange Programs
Needle exchange programs are an important harm reduction strategy, providing a safe and effective way for people who use intravenous drugs to reduce the risk of contracting blood-borne diseases. These programs also help to reduce the number of used needles that are improperly disposed of, which can pose a serious public health hazard. Sharps users can exchange their used needles for new needles at exchange sites, which are usually operated by community organizations. The used needles are then properly disposed of, helping to keep communities safe and healthy. Exchange programs provide a vital service to those who use intravenous drugs, and they play an important role in protecting public health.
Home Needle Destruction Devices
There are a variety of products available that can clip, melt, or burn needles, allowing the user to safely dispose of them in the garbage. These devices can reduce or eliminate the danger of sharps entering the waste stream. By clipping the needle, the sharp edges are removed, making it safe to handle. Melting the needle destroys the sharp point and makes it safe to dispose of in the garbage. Burning the needle sterilizes it and also makes it safe to dispose of in the garbage. By using one of these home needle destruction devices, you can safely and securely dispose of your needles, syringes, and plungers without putting yourself or others at risk.
Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss any sharps disposal needs!