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Do you use pen needles, syringes, lancets, finger prick devices or infusion sets as part of your medication or monitoring routine?  If so, don’t throw these in the garbage.  These products are “medical sharps” and after being used, even once, are considered medical waste items since they have come in contact with blood or bodily tissue.

Reasons not to throw your medical sharps in the garbage:

  1. Safe sharps disposal will prevent other people and pets from getting injured.  If you throw these in the garbage, even if you put them in a container, it could put children, pets, housekeepers, trash collectors and municipal workers at risk of being harmed by needle stick injuries.

  2. We want to keep sharps and medical waste out of landfill to protect the environment.

How to dispose of your sharps safely and in an environmentally-friendly way:

  • Visit your local pharmacy that participates in the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) return programs, such as LMC Pharmacy, to receive an approved sharp container free of charge.

  • Carefully place your sharps in the container.  Do not overfill sharps containers.

  • When full, permanently close the container.

  • Do NOT throw the container in your garbage.  If you do, it winds up in our landfill. 

  • Take back the full, secured container to the pharmacy and exchange it for a new container.

  • A medical sharps disposal service will collect containers from HPSA pharmacies and handle them in an environmentally friendly manner.

What can go into a medical sharps container?

Items used by individuals at home to inject medications or monitor their condition may be placed in an approved sharps container, including infusion sets, medication pens, pen needles, syringes with needles attached, lancets, needles and needle tips, pre-filled cartridges and pre-filled syringes.

Bonus question while we’re on the topic of sharps – Why is reusing sharps unhygienic?

You probably know or have been told to use needles and lancets only once for hygiene and sanitary reasons.  Even if you are the only person using the device, once your needle or lancet has come in contact with your blood or bodily fluids, it can start growing germs on the surface or in the needle.  By using the same needle or lancet again you risk introducing germs into your body and giving yourself an infection.  As well, reused sharps get dull, and this can cause skin or tissue damage and injection pain.

 

What to know more?

Your LMC Diabetes Educator Pharmacist is a great source of information about safe sharps disposal as well as other medication safety topics.    

 

The Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) website also has safe sharps and medication disposal information and pharmacy locator to let you know where you can get free sharps containers and free disposal services.  www.healthsteward.ca