Whether it's insulin, chemotherapy, or any other injectable medication, a prescription for something like this also means having to keep medical syringes on hand. That also means that you'll have used syringes to dispose of. With the biohazard risk associated with these products, it's important that you dispose of your needles safely. Here's a look at the basic methods for proper and safe sharps disposal.
Buy Sharps Storage Containers
Residential sharps disposal containers are available at most every neighborhood pharmacy and can even be ordered online. These containers have a specific capacity and recommend that you not fill them more than about two-thirds full. There's usually a line marked on the container so that you can avoid overfilling them. Once the container is full, you can tape it closed with heavy-duty tape and then dispose of it in your regular garbage can. It's safe to dispose of this way because the sharps containers are manufactured to withstand the needles.
Participate In Local Sharps Disposal Clinics
In some areas, the hospitals and local pharmacies host disposal clinics for people to bring old and used sharps waste. The goal of these clinics is to keep this waste out of the landfills where it can pose a hazard. Remember that being stuck by a used needle can leave you at risk of a host of different diseases, so it's essential that you're careful with your syringes after you use them.
Talk With Your Pharmacist
Some pharmacies have ongoing drop box systems for sharps disposal. Especially in areas where drug use is rampant and needle-based illnesses are becoming more common, pharmacies tend to offer safe disposal options and easily accessible syringes to encourage clean, new needle use and proper disposal. Check with your pharmacist when you fill your syringe prescription to find out what their requirements are for ongoing disposal services.
Choose Metal Canisters When Possible
If you can't get sharps disposal containers, you need to be selective about the containers that you do use. For example, metal coffee cans are an acceptable alternative, but only if you can securely tape the lid closed afterward.
Safe disposal of used syringes is essential and should be a top priority for you if you're prescribed an injectable medication. Talk with your local pharmacist or your doctor about the best methods for sharps disposal where you live. There may be other programs or other means to access sharps disposal supplies.