Can Hazardous Pharmaceuticals Stay in a Used Syringe in a Sharps Container?

Here are some key points to consider when it comes to disposing of hazardous pharmaceuticals in used syringes.

Understanding how to dispose of sharps can seem like a no-brainer. Keep them in a puncture-proof container and always practice safe handling. Right? But what happens when those sharps are used, and still contain hazardous pharmaceutical matter in the syringe? Since pharmaceutical waste is disposed of through incineration, there are additional disposal methods one must consider before simply tossing the syringes in a sharps container.

Here are some key points to consider when it comes to disposing of hazardous pharmaceuticals in used syringes.

First, all liquid, non-hazardous, non-DEA pharmaceuticals in a syringe must be disposed of using the incineration method of medical waste disposal.  The concern that arises with this is that incineration is a more costly method for disposal.

Here are some things to consider when disposing of this type of medical waste:

  1. Dispose of the remaining hazardous pharmaceutical into a gauze, or another absorbent material, and place it in an incineration container. Then, the needle or syringe can then be placed into the sharps container, and processed as non-incineration waste at a reduced expense.
  2. If the hazardous pharmaceuticals are left inside a syringe and placed inside a sharps container, then all the syringes that are in that same sharps container will now be required to be handled as incineration waste. This requires less time for disposal but may increase expenses.

It’s important to understand the requirements and regulations governing your industry and to set rules in place at your health facility for disposal of all medical waste. The first step is to ensure that all pharmaceutical waste is properly separated in clearly labeled containers for incineration. Then you can decide which option is best for disposal.

Have questions? Need help deciding? We’re here to help. At Red Bags we want you to feel comfortable and confident with your facilities medical waste management and disposal. Get in touch today!

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