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Sharps Bin

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

A sharps bin is a container used to dispose of sharp medical supplies. They are used by people who need to dispose of sharps (needles or other sharp items) that need to be used in the course of their medical treatment. There are a lot of medical conditions that require people to self-inject medications. Some examples of these include anticoagulants to prevent blood clots, immune system modulators for inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fertility treatments, and growth hormone deficiency treatments. People with diabetes that use insulin or test their blood sugar levels will also need a sharps bin.

Items that can go in a sharps bin include needles, syringes, broken glass, finger-pricking devices such as lancets, clippers used to detach needles, and the sharp part of syringes. Sharps bins come in a range of different sizes, depending on the capacity that the patient needs.

How do I get one?

Sharps bins may be available on prescription. If you need one, you should speak to your doctor. You can also buy sharps bins from a pharmacy or other online retailers.

Can I use a regular bin?

Putting sharps in a regular bin can be dangerous as it can cause needle-stick injuries to those sorting the waste. Also, in worst-case scenarios, blood-borne viruses like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C can spread via contact with sharps contaminated with infected blood.

What are the different colored sharps bins?

If we’re getting into the ‘expert’ level of sharps bins, then it’s important to know that sharps bins are color-coded based on the type of waste that should go in them. Most sharps bins are red. Sharps bins that are yellow are for cytotoxic medications. These include some cancer, hormone, steroid, and immunosuppressant medications. Hazardous waste should go in a black container. White and blue containers are for pharmaceutical medications. You should put your sharps in the correct bin so they can be disposed of safely. If you have any questions, you can ask your pharmacist which sharps bin you should get depending on what is going inside it.

How do I dispose of a full sharps bin?

Sharps bin disposal varies depending on where you live. You should speak to your local trash removal service or health department to establish what arrangements are available in your area. You may also be able to take your sharps bin to your local pharmacy or doctor's office. For safety, ensure your sharps bin is fully sealed before disposal, and do not fill it above the maximum capacity line.

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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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