Around 4.5 billion syringes, needles, and lancets are used for diabetes care in the United States each year. If they are not disposed of properly, these items - known as "sharps" - can injure other people.
The rules and regulations regarding sharps disposal are different in towns and counties around the country, so check with your local sanitation or health department.
If your community does not have specific disposal rules, follow these guidelines:
- Never throw loose sharps into the trash, whether at home or away from home.
- Never flush sharps down the toilet.
- Remove needles from syringes and pen needle units using a BD Safe-Clip™ device and put the rest of the syringe or pen needle in your BD™ Home Sharps Container. Don't try to recap or clip a needle that has been used by another person. This can lead to accidental needle sticks, which may cause serious infections. Don't attempt to remove the needle without the BD Safe-Clip™ clipper device because the needles could fall, fly off, or get lost and injure someone.
- Put your used syringes, pen needles, and lancets in a sharps container.
- When the BD Safe-Clip™ clipper device or BD™ Home Sharps Container is full, seal it and check with your community how to dispose of it properly. Do not put it in your recycling bin - because syringes, pen needles, and lancets are not recyclable.
You may find it convenient to use the BD™ Sharps Disposal by Mail system. It includes containment, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal and tracking of used sharps, all in one package.
Here's how the system works:
- The BD™ Sharps Disposal by Mail can be purchased in your local drugstore, the container holds up to 300 pen needles or lancets, or up to 100 insulin syringes. The kit includes a red wrapping bag and a postage-paid mailing box.
- Put your used syringes, pen needles and lancets into the container.
- When the sharps container is full, seal it. Place it into the red bag. Then place the bag inside the mailing box.
- Fill out the tracking form and keeps a copy for your records.
- Give the closed postage paid box to your mail carrier or bring it to the post office.
- When the mailing box reaches the treatment facility, the tracking form is scanned and a certificate of destruction is mailed back to you, confirming the destruction of your sharps.
Keep the sharps container away from children.
Never handle someone else's syringe unless a healthcare professional trains you in proper injection technique and disposal.
If you have any questions about throwing away syringes or lancets, call BD toll free: 1.888.BD CARES (232.2737).
For additional information on the availability of sharps disposal programs in your area or for information on setting up a community disposal program, visit the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal website at: http://www.safeneedledisposal.org