All Points Medical Waste Blog

Diabetes: Proper disposal of waste materials like lancets & test strips

Best practices to reduce risk

Diabetes has become more and more common in the United States, a condition that can require the patient to inject themselves with insulin and check their blood sugar levels, two to four times a day. In 2015, more than 30 million Americans had diabetes, that’s nearly 10 percent of the population and even more startling is the fact that each year more than 1.5 million people are diagnosed with the disease. If you or a loved one is required to inject insulin to maintain control of blood sugar, it’s key that you follow specific rules and federal and state regulations for disposing of needles, test strips and lancets used to collect blood samples.

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 be come dull, which can result in a painful injection the next time it’s 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, it’s critical to dispose of them properly to reduce risk of injury to yourself and others.

Keep out of regular trash and recycling bins

Whether you’re living alone or with others, never throw your insulin needles, syringes, test strips or other materials into the regular trash. All of these items pose a potential risk to anyone who accidentally comes in contact with it—including being pricked or exposed to blood. In addition, never place sharps, even if they are capped, into your recycling bins. Caps can easily fall off, endangering anyone who comes in contact with the receptacle.

Puncture proof container

Your best bet when disposing of needles and syringes is to use a FDA approved sharps container. You may be able to purchase one from your pharmacy or a local medical waste disposal company. If this is not possible then it’s important to find a puncture proof container, such as an old plastic bottle or a jar with a tight fitting lid. The key is that your insulin needles cannot poke a hole or stick out of whatever waste container you choose to use. You should also clearly mark the container to ensure that no one opens it or sticks their hands inside.

Don’t overfill

Make sure you don’t allow your waste container to fill up to the point where sharps, lancets or test strips are overflowing or sticking out of the top. Be aware of how many of these items you’ve placed inside, when the container is three-quarters full, it’s time to stop using it and seal it up. If you are trying to stuff needles into a container that’s too full, you can easily end up sticking yourself.

Seal & dispose of waste container

Once your container has reached three-quarters full, make sure the lid is on correctly and seal it using duct tape. If you don’t have a medical waste disposal company close by, get in touch with your local health department to find out the location of drop off sites. Many cities have sites for hazardous waste, but if not, speak to your doctor.

When it comes to treating your diabetes, it’s critical that you consider how you dispose of all of your needles, syringes, test strips and any other supplies. Be sure to follow the steps above and if you have any questions or concerns speak to your doctor or your local health department.

All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated company that serves medical facilities, physician’s offices, treatment centers and many other organizations throughout Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Broward Counties. For information on our waste disposal services or shredding and destruction services, call us at 772.600.4885 or fill out our online quote request form.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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