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Safely Dispose of Sharps

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Many people with medical conditions use sharps daily. Sharps refer to any medical device with a sharp point or edge that can be used to puncture or cut skin. These items may be used to help treat a variety of conditions: diabetes, allergies, infertility, hepatitis, cancer, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders and more. For those who use these items every day, they are left with the dilemma of how to properly dispose of their sharps.

Properly Dispose of Your Sharps

Immediately after using sharps, they should be placed in a disposal container designated for such items. FDA-cleared sharps containers can often be found at pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, or online. These containers are specially designed with puncture-resistant plastic with leak-resistant sides and bottom, and have a tight fitting, puncture-resistant lid. If you are unable to acquire a FDA-cleared container, a heavy-duty plastic household container, such as a laundry detergent container can be used as an alternative.

It is important to dispose of sharps safely. Sharps that are not disposed of properly could cause injury or spread infection to others or animals. The most commonly spread infections include Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is important to have a safe way to dispose of your sharps at home, at work, at school, while traveling, and in public places. Never place sharps in public trashcans or recycling bins. Never flush them down the toilet. Negligent disposal of sharps puts trash and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members, and children at risk of being harmed.

What to Do if You Are Stuck

  • If you are accidently stuck by another person’s needle or sharp, wash the exposed area immediately with water and soap or use a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.

  • Follow up cleaning the exposed area with a call to your physician or local hospital.

Learn more about safe sharps disposal at

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