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DOs and DON’Ts of Proper Sharps Disposal

THINK SAFETY FIRST WHEN DISPOSING SHARPS!

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  • 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.
  • DO use an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, if possible. If an FDA-cleared container is not available, some organizations and community guidelines recommend using a heavy-duty plastic household container as an alternative.
  • DO make sure that if a household container is used, it has the basic features of a good disposal container.
  • DO carry a portable sharps disposal container for travel.
  • DO follow your community guidelines for getting rid of your sharps disposal container.
  • DO call your local trash or public health department (listed in the county and city government section of your phone book) to find out about sharps disposal programs in your area.
  • DO ask your health care provider, veterinarian, local hospital or pharmacist
    • where and how to get an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container,
    • if they can dispose of your used needles and other sharps, or
    • if they know of sharps disposal programs near you.
  • DO keep all sharps and sharps disposal containers out of reach of children and pets.
  • DO seal sharps disposal containers when disposing of them, label them properly and check your community guidelines on how to properly dispose of them.
  • DO ask your medical or prescription insurer whether they cover sharps disposal containers.
  • DO ask the manufacturer of your drug products that are used with a needle or other sharps if they provide a sharps disposal container to patients at no charge.
  • DO report a problem associated with sharps and disposal containers.
  • DON’T throw loose needles and other sharps into the trash.
  • DON’T flush needles and other sharps down the toilet.
  • DON’T put needles and other sharps in your recycling bin — they are not recyclable.
  • DON’T try to remove, bend, break, or recap needles used by another person. This can lead to accidental needle sticks, which may cause serious infections.
  • DON’T attempt to remove the needle without a needle clipper because the needle could fall, fly off, or get lost and injure someone.

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