Do’s & Don’ts for Disposing of Medical Waste

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Help prevent injury, illness, and pollution by following these simple steps when disposing of home health care wastes in your household trash.

Do’s & Don’ts for Disposing of Medical Waste

1. Do place sharps in an opaque, puncture-resistant container.  This means don’t place loose needles or other sharps into red bags or any other non-puncture-proof container.

2. Do seal lids on containers of sharps with heavy-duty tape. Containers containing sharps cannot be left open, or else you run the risk of releasing potentially infectious disease. Take care to safely close off sharps containers either with tape or for auto-locking containers make sure to engage all the safety mechanisms.

3. Don’t place anything other than medical waste in a medical waste container. Especially pharmaceutical waste. Complicated regulations dictate the disposal of different types of pharmaceutical waste, potentially in separate containers

DO:

  • Immediately place used sharps in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle-sticks, cuts or punctures from loose sharps. (A list of products and companies with FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers is available on the FDA website. Although the products on the list have received FDA clearance, all products may not be currently available on the market.)

DO NOT:

  • Throw loose sharps into the trash.
  • Flush sharps down the toilet.
  • Put sharps in a recycling bin; they are not recyclable.
  • Try to remove, bend, break or recap sharps used by another person.
  • Attempt to remove a needle without a needle clipper device.

 

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