PREVENTING INJURY AND POLLUTION
Home care may generate some items that are classified as medical waste. These items are defined as "sharps waste" such as hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for delivery of medications. All "sharps waste" is to be transported to a collection center in an approved sharps container. Syringes without sharps (needles) attached can be disposed of, in your trash can. The Medical Waste Management Act requires home-generated sharps to be placed in approved containers for transport and disposal. Home-generated sharps should not be disposed of in bleach bottles, soda containers, etc. Instead, you should disgard the "sharps waste" in red bio-hazardous containers for easy identification. Containers with sharps are not recyclable.
WHAT GOES INTO THE SHARPS DISPOSAL CONTAINER?
If you are a home self-injector, or if you use needles to add medications to I V bags that you are infusing, you only need to worry about proper disposal of your sharps such as needles and lancets in your Sharps Disposal container. Only needles or lancets should be placed in your Sharps Disposal container. This includes needles that are permanently attached to your syringe (e.g. insulin syringes or pre-filled syringes with needles permanently attached) or needles that are permanently attached to the administration set (e.g. subcutaneous administration sets). For the disposal of syringes without needles (e.g. pre-filled saline and heparin syringes) after use, remove the plunger from the barrel and dispose of the syringe with your household trash. No other items need to be disposed of in your Sharps Disposal container, including used gloves, used dressings, or used administration sets in which a needle is not permanently attached.
For more information regarding sharps disposal in your area please visit http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/
DISPOSAL TIPS FOR HOME HEALTH CARE
You can prevent injury, illness, and pollution by following some simple steps when you dispose of the sharp objects and contaminated materials you use in administering health care in your home.
You should place:
- Syringes with needles
- Blood contaminated syringes and other objects in an approved Sharps container
Along with the new state law that was passed September 1st, 2008, that requires for all Sharps to be disposed of in the approved Sharps container only, they have also implemented Sharps Return Kit programs. (see below for mail in program)
MAIL IN PROGRAM
You may be provided with a sharps container that includes pre-postaged shipping. When you are ready to return your sharps container simply place the sealed sharps container into the provided pre-postaged shipping box and mail to
pre-determined medical waste disposal location.