How Do You Dispose of Sharps and Needles? 12 Tips to Sharpen your Skills


Posted by Rachael Tom

Disposing of sharps is no joke. It’s easy to do it wrong, so let’s talk about doing it right. Whether you're a provider or a client, it’s good to review the rules for proper sharps disposal. Life is hard enough as it is... Why make it harder by not being safe about sharps, right?


- Use  the FDA-cleared, sharps disposal containers that are available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online. Need an alternative? Read this FDA article on alternatives here

- Treat all sharps as if they're infectious. The risks are too high. 

- Put only sharps in the sharps container.

- Wash your hands and use disposable gloves during the entire disposal process.

- Remove and properly dispose of gloves before washing your hands.

Follow this 3 step process:
1. Remove the lid of the sharps container.
2. Instruct the consumer to drop the sharps, needle first, into the container. If the consumer is unable to do this, then use a tool such as tongs instead of handling sharps directly.
3. Replace the lid securely. If needed, put tape on the lid to secure it.


- Don’t bend or break a needle.

-Don’t put a cap on a used needle.

- Never take a used needle out of a syringe.

- Never use a needle more than once.

- Don’t forget to dispose of the sharps container when it is ¾ full using your community’s disposal process. 

- Don’t forget to seal the container with tape and take to an approved sharps disposal location.

- Remember sharps and needles can injure people, as well as spread germs and disease.

For more information on the official training guidelines of sharps handling click here.  

Need a list of approved sharps disposal locations in Washington state? Try here.  

Need more information from SEIU Benefit Group on Sharps Handling? Click here

Not registered? Click here to activate your free Carina benefit today.
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