Safe Syringe and Used Needle Disposal Handling Tips
The improper disposal of home generated medical waste poses a potential health hazard to many, including family members, sanitation workers, people in the community, hotel housekeeping staff and school personnel. Although rare, diseases as serious as Hepatitis B and AIDS can also result from accidental needle sticks. In addition, loose syringes thrown into your household trash can also be misused if they fall into the wrong hands. Moreover, these items can injure small children, pets and wildlife.
The best way to protect yourself and others is to properly dispose of home generated medical waste. This includes using a designated container for sharp objects like needles, lancets and syringes; wrapping them securely before disposing; and disposing of them at a regulated facility. You can also take steps to reduce the amount of medical waste you generate in the first place by opting for alternatives when possible, such as using electronic options instead of disposable ones. By being mindful of the risks posed by home generated medical waste and taking steps to reduce those risks, you can help keep yourself, your family and your community safe.
What is Home Generated Waste?
Home generated medical waste is created through the administration of injectable medications and other invasive or non-invasive procedures. It includes, but is not limited to, syringes, needles with attached tubing and other materials. All of this waste must be properly disposed of in order to protect the public from exposure to harmful pathogens. One option for disposal is to return the waste to a health care facility where it can be properly incinerated. Another option is to place the waste in a designated container and dispose of it at a local hazardous waste facility. Regardless of the method chosen, it is important to follow all local, state and federal regulations to ensure that the waste is properly disposed of.
Are There Laws Governing Home Generated Medical Waste?
The improper disposal of syringes or reusable hypodermic needles is regulated by State law. These Statutes prohibit any person from discarding disposable or reusable hypodermic needles or syringes, in public or private places which are accessible to other persons (including trespassers) without first destroying the needle or syringe. This means you are responsible for destroying your needles and syringes, even when you visit other people. Syringes can be destroyed by breaking the tip off the needle and then bending the needle so that it snaps in half. The body of the syringe can then be disposed of in the trash. Used needles and syringes should never be thrown in the trash, recycling bin, toilet, or storm drain. If you have questions about how to properly dispose of your used needles and syringes, please contact your local waste management company or city/county health department.
How Can You Safely Dispose of Your Used Needles?
There are several options available for those who need to dispose of used syringes. Physicians may be willing to take them, local health departments may have facilities available, or they can be placed in the household trash following certain steps. Syringes must be placed in rigid, protective containers so that people will not be injured by needles and the container itself will not break open. By taking these precautions, used syringes can be disposed of safely and without incident.
Clip your needles with a needle clipper. You can buy an inexpensive hand held needle clipper from the pharmacy. Never try to break a needle with anything other than a clipper as this is dangerous. Once you have clipped the needle, carefully place it along with all other used needles and syringes into a plastic bottle with a screw-on lid. If possible, the individual receiving the medical treatment should clip the needle and syringe and place them in the container. You can now dispose of the tightly sealed full container of syringes in your household garbage – do not put them in your recycling bin. Keep in mind that even if you feel healthy, your used syringes can transmit germs. In addition, loose syringes thrown in the trash can seriously hurt people. Therefore, it is important to dispose of them safely. By doing so, we all benefit and contribute to the safty of ourselves, our family memebers and others.