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Where to Dispose of Sharps Containers?

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Where to Dispose of Sharps Containers?

While most sharps are generated in medical facilities, there are many locations that are involved with sharps including but not limited to: funeral homes, veterinarians, coroners, laboratories, body piercing shops, tattoo parlors, dentists, and pharmacies.  Home use of hypodermic needles for medical treatment is another growing location where sharps are found. All these places are required to use proper sharps containers and to arrange for disposal processes that comply with all legal guidelines.

Sharps are any item that can cut or pierce the skin that may contain or does contain transmittable diseases. Injuries from sharps are attributed to thousands of exposures to deadly diseases every year. According to the World Health Organization, sharps accidents expose healthcare workers to the potential transmission of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HCV (hepatitis C) and HBV (hepatitis B).  In addition, improper disposal of sharps can allow the leaking of bloodborne pathogens into the land and water sources, transmitting these diseases to the environment and all life in proximity. Due to the serious conditions of sharps, they are listed as biohazardous waste and there have been local, state, and federal guidelines established for the proper handling, storage, and disposal of sharps.

Sharps Home Use Container Disposal

Typically, the standard home use of sharps is low in volume, however, the sharps remain just as dangerous as any other location. A majority of home use involves needles and once used; they need to be stored in a safe container that complies with the same guidelines as the professional medical institutions: 

It is a good idea to check with the drug manufacturer or health insurance provider to see if they offer cost-free programs for FDA-cleared sharps containers. Another choice is to use home containers that comply with the requirements such as a clean laundry detergent container with a tight lid.

Storing sharps containers in a home can present a danger to others and the containers should be disposed of according to local, state, and federal guidelines. There are some options for those that use sharps at home for disposing of the containers properly. You will need to check with your local and state health authorities to see if any of these services are available:

Business Regulated Biohazardous Waste Generator Types

Sharps are a hazardous waste. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) refers to any business or organization that produces hazardous waste as a “generator.” Federal regulations dictate that a generator is responsible for this waste in a “cradle-to-grave” concept which means from the moment of generation to proving that the waste was disposed of according to the local, state, and federal guidelines, rendering it harmless.

The guidelines for each type of generator are extremely strict and differ based on the category. Both state and federal organizations have increased their auditing of those organizations that generator biohazardous waste.

To assist in complying with regulations, the EPA has created three categories for generators based on the volume of hazardous waste produced: Very small quantity generators, Small quantity generators, and Large quantity generators. It’s important to know which category an organization falls into for appropriate compliance procedures.

Lack of compliance by any generator can result in high fines and fees that can cause business closure.

Lack of Compliance Consequences:

State and federal laws place the responsibility of proper disposal of hazardous waste such as sharps on the generator. This means that compliance on all levels is a requirement and they must use appropriate handling, storage, and transport for the hazardous waste. Improper disposal of hazardous waste can result in penalties, loss of reputation and business, as well as the potential harm to the community and the environment.  Lack of appropriate staff training for sharps could result in the accidental transmission of potentially deadly diseases. Using a licensed and trained medical waste disposal company can save time and money and assist in ensuring safety and efficacy.

Healthcare Waste Management Company Benefits

There are extremely strict laws and guidelines involved in sharps and biohazardous waste on a federal level, there are often additional state laws that must be complied with for SQGs and LQGs. Most smaller organizations do not have the time or staff to keep up with compliance laws and none of the government agencies allow ignorance of the guidelines as an excuse. In addition to compliance for handling, storage and disposal of hazardous waste, there are OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Agency) guidelines for training employees for safety practices.

Most SQGs and LQGs have many types of biohazardous waste, including sharps and need to use the services of a medical waste disposal company that can take care of all their medical waste disposal needs.

The key to compliance exists in knowledge, and a trained and professional medical waste disposal company can:

Healthcare Waste Management takes full responsibility for the biohazardous waste, including sharps, the moment that we pick them up. The biohazardous waste is transported to our licensed facility where each type of waste is disposed of accordingly.

Parent page – Sharps Container Disposal


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