Have you ever received ICHON injections or fluids for your pet from our clinic, and then wondered what you were supposed to do with the used syringes? The proper disposal of these items, called “sharps,” is essential to preventing the spread of infections. And here at Campus Veterinary, we strive to make safety our first priority, so we have provided all of the information you will need to properly dispose of your pet’s used syringes.
The items listed below are considered “sharps” and must be disposed of properly:
- Needles – hollow needles used to inject drugs (medication) under the skin
- Syringes – devices used to inject medication into or withdraw fluid from the body
- Lancets, also called “fingerstick” devices – instruments with a short, two-edged blade used to get drops of blood for testing. Lancets are commonly used in the treatment of diabetes.
- Auto Injectors, including epinephrine and insulin pens – syringes pre-filled with fluid medication designed to be self-injected into the body
- Infusion sets – tubing systems with a needle used to deliver drugs to the body.
- Connection needles/sets – needles that connect to a tube used to transfer fluids in and out of the body. This is generally used for patients on home hemodialysis.
Used needles and other sharps are dangerous to people and pets if not disposed of safely because they can injure people and spread infections that cause serious health conditions. The most common infections are:
- Hepatitis B (HBV),
- Hepatitis C (HCV), and
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Never place loose needles and other sharps (those that are not placed in a sharps disposal container) in the household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet. This puts trash and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members, and children at risk of being harmed.
The best ways to dispose of sharps are
1) to use a sharps container, or 2) utilize your
community services or drop-off sites.
1. Place all needles
and other sharps in
a sharps disposal
after they have been
used. This will reduce
the risk of needle sticks,
cuts, and punctures
from loose sharps.
containers should be
kept out of reach of
children and pets.
2. Dispose of used sharps disposal containers according to your community guidelines. Sharps disposal guidelines and programs vary depending on where you live. Check with your local trash removal services or health department (listed in the city or county government (blue) pages in your phone book) to see which of the following disposal methods are available in your area:
- Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites
You may be able to drop off your sharps disposal containers at appropriate chosen collection sites, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, medical waste facilities, and police or fire stations. Services may be free or have a nominal fee.
Check out Berkeley’s NEED (Needle Exchange Emergency Distribution) site to find out where they are located.
- Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites
You may be able to drop off your sharps disposal containers at local public household hazardous waste collection sites. These are sites that also commonly accept hazardous materials such as household cleaners, paints and motor oil.
- Mail-Back Programs
You may be able to mail certain FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers to a collection site for proper disposal, usually for a fee. Fees vary, depending on the size of the container. Follow the container manufacturer’s instructions because mail-back programs may have specific requirements on how to label sharps disposal containers.
- Residential Special Waste Pick-Up Services
Your community may provide special waste pick-up services that send trained special waste handlers to collect sharps disposal containers from your home. These services are typically fee-based and many have special requirements for the types of containers they will collect. Some programs require customers to call and request pick-ups, while other offer regular pick-up schedules.
Call us at the clinic if you have any questions about disposing of sharps. We are happy to help!