Frequently Asked Questions
What is a “sharp”?
“Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Examples of sharps include:
- Needles – hollow needles used to inject drugs (medication) under the skin
- Syringes – devices used to inject medication into or withdraw fluid from the body
- Lancets, also called “finger stick” devices – instruments with a short, two-edged blade used to get drops of blood for testing. Lancets are commonly used in the treatment of diabetes.
- Auto Injectors, including epinephrine and insulin pens – syringes pre-filled with fluid medication designed to be self-injected into the body
- Infusion sets – tubing systems with a needle used to deliver drugs to the body.
- Connection needles/sets – needles that connect to a tube used to transfer fluids in and out of the body. This is generally used for patients on home hemodialysis.
Why is proper disposal of used sharps important?
Needles and sharps can cause needle sticks and injuries that may result in transmission of disease if not disposed of properly. Used sharps are classified as biohazard waste in many countries and in some states in the United States. Items classified as biohazard must be thrown out separately from other household trash.
What type of containers can I used to dispose of used sharps?
Once sharps are used, they should be placed in a sharps container. A sharps container is a hard plastic, colored container with a biohazard label and tight fitting lid. In the United States, these containers are often red. The container should be clearly labeled to indicate it contains used sharps. You should never use glass or clear plastic containers, or any container with a lid that can be easily removed. Be sure to check your state’s rules and any requirements in your local area before disposing of sharps.
Where can I dispose of my sharps locally?
Rules for disposal of sharps are different in every area. We recommend you talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or local health department to learn more about rules specific to your area. You can also visit www.safeneedledisposal.org to check the rules for your state and find options for local disposal of used sharps. Unable to drop off your used sharps? Call us to arrange for free shipping of your Arwood Waste Sharps Container from your home to a disposal site.
Can I throw a sharps container in the trash once it is full?
In most countries and in many states, sharps containers are not allowed in household trash. Always check with your doctor, pharmacist, or local health department before disposing of sharps containers. You can also visit www.safeneedledisposal.org to look up state laws.
You should never dispose of loose sharps in the trash or toilet. Do not put include a sharps container in your recycling.
If your state allows sharps containers to be included in household waste, you should ask your doctor, pharmacist, or local health department if there are safer disposal options available.
What should I do with my sharps container if it’s not allowed in household trash?
You can visit www.safeneedledisposal.org to check for local sites that handle disposal of used sharps. If you purchased your sharps container from Arwood Waste and are unable to drop off your used sharps, simply call us to arrange for free shipping of your Arwood Waste Sharps Container from your home to a disposal site.
For more information, visit RecycleGuide.org