Getting Rid of Used Needles, Syringes, and Lancets

Diabetes syringe, glucometer, test strips, and lancet
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, syringes (needles) and lancets are medical wastes called “sharps.” Sharps can be dangerous to those handling garbage, if the sharps are thrown in the regular trash.”Sharps boxes” are recommended for home use. Many pharmacies sell sharps boxes at a reasonable cost and will allow you to return the boxes when they are full.

General Guidelines for Sharps Disposal

  • Use a sharps box if one is available. Some hospitals and clinics provide or sell sharps boxes. Check with your diabetes educator to learn about your local disposal options and procedures.
  • Remember never to re-cap your syringes before you dispose of them.
  • If you do not have a regular sharps box, use a hard (puncture-proof) non-clear container for disposing used clipped or un-clipped syringes and lancets.
  • If you choose to clip the syringes, use a device that traps the clipped points in a puncture-proof compartment.
  • Properly dispose of your syringes and lancets when traveling or bring your used sharps home for disposal.

Safety Precautions

  • Do not drop your used syringes or lancets into the regular trash.
  • Do not cut off syringe needles with scissors or break off the needles. The needle could break off as you are cutting it and could hurt you or someone else.
  • Do not use clear plastic bottles for syringe disposal. Children or drug users may see the syringes and try to open the bottle.
  • Do not put plastic bottles filled with syringes/lancets in recycle bins.

Insulin for Life USA

Insulin for Life USA is part of a global network of independent organizations that collects in-date, unopened and unneeded insulin, test strips, and other diabetes supplies from around the world and distributes them to children and adults with diabetes in developing countries. Individuals and organizations can help by donating unused, unneeded, and in-date insulin and other diabetes related supplies.