How to Dispose of Sharps Containers?

When it comes to disposing of sharp objects, you have to use sharps containers for this purpose.

Sharp containers are approved by FDA (Federal Drug Administration). They are highly recommended when disposing of objects with sharp edges.

How do Sharps Containers Work?

Sharps containers are boxes made using high-quality plastic or cardboard materials that prevent leaks or punctures caused by sharp-edged objects.

As an extra safety measure, it is recommended to label sharp with the ‘bio-hazardous’ tag.

These sharps containers are ideal for everyday life scenarios where sharp objects are used, especially in school labs, examination halls, or pharmacies.

They must be placed closer to the POS and follow the height guidelines stated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

This helps ensure that employees can reach the containers more easily.

Some organizations also encourage use of reusable sharps containers to comply with their organization’s sustainability targets.

These containers are manufactured using hard-plastic material, thereby reducing the amount of sharps containers waste.

How to Dispose of Sharp Containers?

For critical items like sharps or sharps containers, professionals should handle the disposal process only. Follow the guidelines and safety tips below to ensure safe disposal of sharps:

  • When your sharp containers are at full capacity, they must be transported from the particular facility by any reputed medical waste management company.
  • In some states, you are allowed 30 days to dispose of sharps containers.
  • Postal sharps containers may be used by enterprises that produce fewer sharp objects waste.
  • Reusable sharps containers are delivered to the healthcare facility with simple guidelines and a pre-paid box that may be returned later.
  • Patients who are required to get rid of diabetic syringes and other sharps items used from their homes should also use these types of containers.

What Items Can You Find in a Sharps Container?

Sharps containers can be used to store medical waste such as needles, catheters, and scalpels, etc., or other waste with sharp edges such as broken glass.

Which Items Do Not Belong in a Sharps Container?

Sharps containers store infected materials that could cause skin punctures.

Anyone handling sharp objects needs to be aware of acceptable and non-acceptable items that can be disposed of in a sharps container.

The following items should never be disposed of in a sharps container:

  • Tape
  • Paper
  • Bandages
  • Gloves
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Medicines
  • Medicine Wrappers
  • Inhalers
  • Garbage
  • Liquids
  • Battery
  • Chemical waste
  • Radioactive medical waste

What Exactly Happens to The Waste in a Sharps Container?

As previously stated, the disposal of sharp objects should be processed on a medical waste management site.

These facilities use two major treatment techniques for sharps waste disposal.

The first one is autoclaving. According to this technique, a high-temperature, high-pressure steaming process is carried out for a certain time to eliminate any infectious pathogens from the waste material.

This is the most common approach for treating sharps. The treated sharps material is subsequently disposed of at a landfill or converted into electricity.

Burning is essential in some circumstances. For instance, if your sharps items are exposed to trace chemotherapeutic waste.

This entails exposing the sharps items to severely high temperatures to stimulate combustion. The residual ash is subsequently disposed of in a landfill.

Sharps waste management keeps all materials securely until they can be appropriately disposed of.

The final step in the sharps waste disposal process is to place them in an autoclave. Burning is a less prevalent option. Usually, only chemotherapeutic sharps waste is burned.

Sharps users may bring their full sharps container to designated collection sites. This includes places like:

  • Hospitals
  • Health Clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Health Management Companies
  • Community Organizations
  • Police
  • Fire Stations
  • Medical Waste Facilities

Services may be provided for no cost or a small fee.

Safe Disposal of Sharps Containers

A sharps disposal container can be disposed of in several ways.

Check with your local garbage removal services or health department (listed in the municipal or county government of your phone book) for safe sharps disposal programs in your area, or scour the Web.

You need to follow the rules and programs for disposing of sharps according to the state or city you are currently in.

Contact your local garbage disposal agency or health department (listed in the city or county government (blue) pages of your phone book) to find out whether the following disposal options are available in your area.

The following are some examples of safe sharps disposal methods:

Method # 1: Supervised Pickup Sites or Drop Boxes

Sharps disposal containers may be dropped off at supervised collection spots like:

  • Doctor’s clinic
  • Hospital
  • Local Pharmacy
  • health Department
  • Medical Waste Collection Sites
  • Police Station
  • Fire Station

Bear in mind that you may be expected to pay a small fee for these services.

Method # 2: Sites for the Collection of Household Hazardous Waste

Sharps disposal containers may be dropped off at local public household hazardous waste collection stations.

Hazardous chemicals, such as home cleaners, paints, and motor oil, are frequently accepted at these locations.

Method # 3: Mail-Back Programs

Sharps disposal containers may be mailed to a collection point for appropriate disposal. Typically, there is a nominal fee charged for this service.

The cost of a container varies based on its size.

Because these programs may have unique requirements for mail-back, follow the manufacturer’s instructions mentioned on the disposal container.

Method # 4: Services for Residential Special Waste Collection

Depending on the company standards for pickup, your community may provide pickup services utilizing a sharps disposal container acceptable to the pickup company.

The container may be given by the pickup organization or one you already own. The container is positioned for collection outside the property.

Customers must call for pickup in some programs, while others have set pickup times.

For further information about your state, you can check government websites for information on:

  • What types of sharps containers should be used?
  • Are there any sharps disposal services available near you?
  • How to properly label a sharps disposal container?
  • How to seal tight a sharps disposal container?
  • Can you throw sharps containers in the trash?

How To Properly Label A Sharps Disposal Container?

Each sharps container must be color-coded red or labeled with the universal biohazard symbol and‘ biohazard.’

Sharps containers must be kept upright while usage, cleaned regularly, and not allowed to overfill.

To ensure the waste is treated according to this subdivision, the lid and sides of the container must be labeled with the biohazardous waste symbol and the tags ‘high heat or incineration only

These and other labels should be placed in a way that they are visible from any direction.

How to Accurately Secure the Lid of Your Sharps Container?

All sharps disposal containers should have the following features:

  • All sharps disposal containers should be manufactured of heavy-duty plastic or other sturdy material
  • The lid of your sharps container should be tight-fitting
  • The lid of your sharps container should be puncture-resistant and prevent sharps from escaping
  • The sharps container itself should be upright and stable while you are using it
  • The sharps container and its lid should be leak-proof
  • The sharps container should have a proper label to warn of hazardous waste inside

Some Sharps Container Disposal Safety Tips To Follow

Tip # 1: Know When to Dispose of Your Sharps Container

When your sharps container box is three-quarters full, it is the right time to dispose of the container.

Don’t add any additional items inside the container as it could increase the chances of needle-stick accidents.

Tip # 2: Use Your Sharps Container Box Ony Once

Do not reuse an old sharps container as it could increase the risk of cross-contamination.

If you have a special sharps container that can be used multiple times, that is an exceptional case; otherwise, all sharps containers should be disposed of after usage.

Tip # 3: Get a Travel-Size Sharps Container

Keep a travel-friendly sharps container with you if you are on the move. You can also use any heavy-duty plastic container as an alternative if you do not have a sharps container with you.

The Bottom Line

We hope this guide on ‘How to dispose of sharps containers’ was an informative read for you.

It is critical to ensure the safe disposal of dangerous items like a sharps container.

Therefore, you must abide by all the rules and regulations stated by the law and follow the safety precautions we discussed in the guide earlier.

Stay safe. Good Luck!

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