Medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and allergies leaves thousands of Maine residents using millions of syringes, pen needles, and lancets, otherwise known as “sharps”. Stockpiling used sharps in the home or improper disposal by throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet puts you and your family, janitorial and solid waste staff, and the general public at risk for accidental needle contact that can lead to infections, tetanus, and transmission of blood-borne diseases.
If you or a loved one uses sharps in your home, here are some no-cost/low-cost selections to safely dispose on your sharps.
- Needle Clipping Devices – Small handheld devices clip off and store up to 1,500 syringe needles rendering the syringe safe for regular disposal with household trash. Once the device is full it can also be safely thrown out without any additional precautions.
- Designated Sharps Containers - Rigid home sharps containers with locking lids may be placed in your household trash when full. While these containers may be available for purchase at your local pharmacy, some manufacturers may also provide them free of charge through patient support programs.
- You may also choose a rigid, leak-proof, and puncture resistant container such as a hard-plastic bottle with a screw on lid for use as well.
- Proper Container Disposal:
- Label container with masking or duct tape: DO NOT RECYCLE
- Make sure the lid is screwed on tightly and secured with tape
- Dispose of in regular trash
- Mail-Back Sharps Containers/Envelopes - Mail-back containers or envelopes that are pre-paid are available for purchase at your local pharmacy, are designed to be filled and mailed back to the manufacturer or manufacturer’s disposal partner.
All Maine Turnpike Authority rest stops, some Maine airports, and some retail stores have sharps disposal boxes that are available for use when you are away from home.
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