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How To Dispose Of Diabetic Needles


Clinics And Hospital Collection Sites

Diabetes & Insulin: How do I dispose of my needles?
  • Some clinics and hospitals have collection programs for needles, lancets, and syringes used by their patients at home. If your healthcare provider has a collection program, learn about and follow their instructions for sharps storage and disposal.
  • Do not bring used needles and syringes to your clinic or hospital if they are unable to accept them.

Dexcom: No Recycling Program

One of the questions we hear most often on the recycling front relates to the popular Dexcom G6 CGM. When it was first approved and launched in 2018, the companys leadership said they were mulling a recycling or takeback program specifically for the new Dexcom G6 single-button plastic inserter thats quite a bit larger than the previous version. Its considered mixed waste, having both non-recyclable metal and plastic parts inside.

On the companys FAQ page, the question Is Dexcom creating a recycling program for the sensor applicator? is met with a clear answer: No.

At this time, we can only recommend that the user dispose of the used applicator following local guidelines for blood contacting components, the page states.

Dexcoms senior public relations manager James McIntosh tells DiabetesMine that there was no decision on a potential takeback program for the Dexcom G6. But the upcoming Dexcom G7 model expected in 2022 will have a new fully-disposable form factor with a smaller sensor and transmitter, as well as a new auto-inserter.


That means itll reduce the volume of plastic and packaging by more than 25 percent compared to the Dexcom G6, he explains, adding: In the long-term, Dexcom is committed to being good stewards of the environment while providing the best possible products for our customers.

A Quick Brief On Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease affecting a significant proportion of the total American population. It has become relatively common in the United States as of 2018, 34.2 million Americans live with diabetes–thats 10.5% of the population. Of the 34.2 million adults with diabetes, 26.8 million were diagnosed, and 7.3 million were undiagnosed. Nearly 1.6 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, including about 187,000 children and adolescents.

One of the primary means of diabetes management is usually self-monitoring and self-administration: regular monitoring of ones blood sugar, paired with oral diabetes medications and/or insulin injections, if necessary. Navigating this new and important responsibility with accurate information is very important for those who may be newly diagnosed with diabetes.

If this is a condition you or a loved one are facing, it is imperative to take treatment and associated sharps disposal seriously. An important part of this responsibility includes the safe and proper disposal of supplies when youre done using them. Diabetes can be a lifelong condition, and mastering self-management is essential to maintaining a high quality of life and independence.

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Getting Rid Of Sharps Containers Safely

  • 1Store your sharps disposal container in a safe place. While using a sharps disposal container reduces the risks associated with used needles, it does not eliminate the risks entirely. To further protect yourself and others, store your sharps disposal container in a safe place that is out of reach for children and pets.XTrustworthy SourceUS Food and Drug AdministrationU.S. government agency responsible for promoting public healthGo to source
  • 2Get rid of your sharps disposal container when its 3/4 full. Overfilling a sharps disposal container increases the risk that you or someone else could get injured. Therefore, make sure that you are diligent about disposing of the sharps disposal container before it gets completely full.XTrustworthy SourceUS Food and Drug AdministrationU.S. government agency responsible for promoting public healthGo to source
  • While many sharps disposal containers have a clear bucket and red top, some have a red body and clear top. Therefore, it can be somewhat difficult to assess how full the container is. As a general rule of thumb, if you arent sure how full your sharps disposal container is, its best to dispose of it to be on the safe side.
  • To see if this is an option in your area, visit .
  • To see if this is an option in your area, visit .
  • Diabetic Needle Disposal Is A Common Struggle

    How To Dispose of Needles, Lancets and Blood Strips ...

    Diabetic self-care often involves the use of sharp instruments. Many diabetics require medication or insulin to regulate their disease, and these therapies are typically delivered via injection. In addition, individuals must regularly monitor their insulin levels to make sure those readings remain in the target range. Such monitoring may involve the use of lancets or needles.

    Proper diabetic sharps disposal can be challenging though. According to a 2019 Stericycle survey, one in four American adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes say that proper sharps disposal is a top concern when it comes to managing their disease. In addition, more than 60% worry that their sharps could harm someone if not properly disposed.

    Although consumer disposal is not regulated, used diabetic syringes and needles should be thrown away in specially designed, puncture-proof containers that are separate from regular waste. Unfortunately, not all people with diabetes follow this procedure. Nearly one in seven patients toss needles, syringes, or lancets in a trash can when they are at home and 20% take used sharps home after administering insulin in public to throw them away in their private trash.

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    Other Medical Waste Disposal

    Put soiled bandages, disposable sheets, medical gloves, and other contaminated non-sharp materials into a black or brown plastic bag. Securely tie or tape up the top of the bag. Place the bag in the center of your garbage when you throw it out. These guideline are available in an English brochure.


    Connect with DOH

    Homemade Household Sharps Containers

    Make your own sharps container using a heavy puncture-proof plastic bottle â like for laundry detergent. Place sharps in the bottle and when itâs full, seal it with the cap and heavy-duty tape, mark âDo Not Recycleâ and simply place in your household trash.

    There are also products for sale â usually at your local pharmacy â that make containment convenient and that can be thrown away in your regular trash when full.

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    One Time Use Results In Many Needles Per Day

    Because diabetic supplies can be costly, it is often tempting to reuse your diabetic needles and syringes. But most manufacturers and medical professionals will caution against it. After one use the needle can become dull. This can result in a painful injection the next time its used. In addition, it can result in an infection which could endanger your health. What this means is that you will likely end up using several needles per day. Because of this, its critical to dispose of them properly to reduce risk of injury to yourself and others.


    General Guidelines For Sharps Disposal

    Be Careful With How You are Disposing Your Needles-Diabetic Tips!
    • Use a sharps box if one is available. Some hospitals and clinics provide or sell sharps boxes. Check with your diabetes educator to learn about your local disposal options and procedures.
    • Remember never to re-cap your syringes before you dispose of them.
    • If you do not have a regular sharps box, use a hard non-clear container for disposing used clipped or un-clipped syringes and lancets.
    • If you choose to clip the syringes, use a device that traps the clipped points in a puncture-proof compartment.
    • Properly dispose of your syringes and lancets when traveling or bring your used sharps home for disposal.

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    Home Management Of Sharps

      *Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format . The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.

      To minimize risks from improper disposal of home-generated biomedical waste, e.g., needles, syringes with needles, diagnostic lancets, etc., many Florida counties have implemented programs that provide accessible and affordable methods to dispose of this type of waste in a safe manner. These programs provide strategically located sites where residents can drop off a container filled with needles and at many sites receive a new container at minimal or no cost.

      If your county health department or local county government does not have this type of program, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has several possible options for safe needle disposal. A United States Post Office list also provides approved biomedical waste mail-in services. Needles, syringes with needles, diagnostic lancets, etc., are placed into containers provided by these services and mailed to a facility for treatment.

      As a last resort, if the options above are not feasible, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recommend individuals follow the guidelines below.


      Is Your Insulin Expired

      People often struggle with insulin usage and storing since it comes with special conditions.

      How many times have you used barely half of an insulin bottle, only to find out its expiring tomorrow?

      This can feel quite wasteful, especially considering the growing market prices and the low availability.

      If you want to double-check whether your insulin is really expired before disposing of it off, there are two things to look out for.

      These pointers have been confirmed by insulin manufacturers.


      The first is the printed expiration date on your insulin vial. This is when the insulin is safe for use, as long as it is kept refrigerated at the recommended temperatures.

      Secondly, you should keep in mind the amount of time passed since you first opened the insulin vial or pen.

      Generally, insulin works for around 28 days after it has been opened, with a few types lasting over 40 days.

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      Other Factors To Consider Besides The Expiration Date

      While the expiry date is the best determinant of whether your insulin is still safe for use or not, there are some other factors you should keep in mind as well.


      Expiration dates only apply to insulin bottles or vials that havent been opened or unsealed. Moreover, they need to be stored under the right conditions in your refrigerator for the expiration date to be viable.

      If the insulin is left at room temperature for too long, or the bottle has been opened for some time now, it will no longer work effectively. These inappropriate storage conditions result in the hormone losing its strength or even becoming completely unable to regulate your blood sugar levels.

      It would help if you made it a practice to dispose of any insulin bottles opened beyond the recommended time of use. Also, be sure to get rid of any vials left out of the refrigerator for an extended time.

      A smart practice to take on is labeling your insulin vials with the date you first opened them. This will help you keep track and determine by when to use the insulin safely.

      Be sure to go over the original packets instructions and discuss with your diabetes specialist to confirm safe use. They are best informed on how long you can use the insulin after opening or keeping it at room temperature.


      These rules are particularly important for people who use prefilled insulin pens or insulin cartridges. So, pay heed to the fine print and be mindful of the dates.

      Getting Rid Of Used Needles Syringes And Lancets

      Where Can I Dispose Of Used Diabetic Needles

      According to the Environmental Protection Agency, syringes and lancets are medical wastes called sharps. Sharps can be dangerous to those handling garbage, if the sharps are thrown in the regular trash.Sharps boxes are recommended for home use. Many pharmacies sell sharps boxes at a reasonable cost and will allow you to return the boxes when they are full.

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      Can You Reuse Them

      The thought of reusing sharps can be appealing for several reasons. First, its more sustainable to reuse something, right? Second, individuals may be looking to save money, as purchasing fresh supplies regularly can get expensive. However, both manufacturers and physicians discourage using sharps more than once.

      How Do I Safely Dispose Of A Syringe

      Follow this step-by-step guide on how to safely pick up and dispose of syringes


      Step 1: Pick it up

      Some people use a tissue or napkin to pick up a discarded syringe, while others feel more comfortable wearing gloves, like gardening or kitchen gloves. Some people also use tongs, pliers or a trash grabber. Thats a good idea for anyone who is going to pick up a lot of syringes or who is going on a community clean-up.

      Step 2: Drop it in

      • Use a hard plastic container, such as a sharps container or 20-ounce water or juice bottle with a lid.

      • Set the container on the ground

      • Drop the syringes in, one at a time, needle point down.

      Step 3: Seal it up

      • Close the container tight.
      • If you have a piece of tape you can seal the top
      • If you have a pen, you can write on the outside, SHARPS. DO NOT RECYCLE.

      Step 4: Drop it off


      It’s against the law to throw syringes in the garbage, even if they are in a secure plastic container. Instead, drop the container in a nearby sharps box or take it to a Metro Household Hazardous Waste Facility.

      For more disposal options, or if you have questions about medical waste disposal, or find an illegal dump on public property, contact Metro at 503-234-3000. If you find discarded syringes in Portlands city center and dont feel comfortable picking it up, call Downtown Clean & Safe at 503-224-7383 to report the waste.

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      Dispose Of Used Sharps Disposal Containers According To Your Community Guidelines

      Sharps disposal guidelines and programs vary depending on where you live. Check with your local trash removal services or health department pages in your phone book) to see which of the following disposal methods are available in your area:

      Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites

      You may be able to drop off your sharps disposal containers at appropriate chosen collection sites, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, medical waste facilities, and police or fire stations. Services may be free or have a nominal fee.


      Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites

      You may be able to drop off your sharps disposal containers at local public household hazardous waste collection sites. These are sites that also commonly accept hazardous materials such as household cleaners, paints and motor oil.

      Mail-Back Programs

      You may be able to mail certain FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers to a collection site for proper disposal, usually for a fee. Fees vary, depending on the size of the container. Follow the container manufacturer’s instructions because mail-back programs may have specific requirements on how to label sharps disposal containers.

      Residential Special Waste Pick-Up Services

      For more information specific to your state, call Safe Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643 or e-mail . Information they can provide for your state includes:

      What Are Lancets And Test Strips Used For

      How Do I Dispose of my Diabetes Used Sharps Responsibly?

      Lancets are small, short needles encased in plastic, and are used to puncture the skin to obtain a blood sample. Standard lancets fit inside a lancing device designed to make the finger prick quick and painless. Single-use lancets, often referred to as safety lancets, are also available and can help avoid accidental puncture.

      After the skin has been punctured, a small bead of blood will surface, which can then be collected using a glucose test strip. Glucose test strips are designed to absorb the blood sample into a sample chamber. There it is mixed with an enzyme and the glucose meter runs an electrical current through the mixture. The level of resistance to the current that the mixture has calculates a blood sugar reading. Then, based on that reading, the user can determine what action they may need to take to regulate their blood sugar levels.


      Here are some helpful tips to remember if you are new to the self-management of diabetes, or if you have another condition that requires regular blood testing.

      Dispose of needles immediately.

      Once you have finished using your lancets, test strips, and, if needed, syringes, immediately dispose of them as they are now considered a biohazard, i.e. hazardous medical waste.

      It is important to take this seriously.

      Do not attempt to clean and re-use lancets or syringes with alcohol or any other anti-bacterial solution.

      Never share needles.

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      Helping Diabetic Patients With Safe Needle Disposal

      Nearly 35 million people in the United States live with diabetes, which translates to more than one in ten Americans. This number has steadily risen over the past 50 years primarily due to dietary habits and the steady rise in obesity rates, which is a major risk factor for developing the most common form of diabetes, type 2.

      Each November, the American Diabetes Association promotes American Diabetes Month to highlight the realities of living with the disease and to spread awareness of the challenges people with diabetes face. Proper disposal of sharps used in treatment is an important aspect of disease management that diabetics must deal with regularly. Lets take a closer look at this issue and discuss how healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and commercial businesses can provide support.

      The Two Types Of Insulin Pens

      Insulin pens fall into two main categories: the disposable ones and the reusable ones. A disposable pen comes with a pre-filled insulin cartridge. Once you use it, you have to throw away the entire pen.

      A reusable pen, on the other hand, allows you to replace the cartridge instead of throwing away the whole pen. Once the cartridge is empty, you have to take it out, discard it, and install a new one.

      No matter which type of pen you use, you have to be careful about the safe disposal of the needle.

      In this post, we will be discussing the proper way to dispose of insulin pens and needles. So, lets begin.

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