Sharps Waste

Medical Waste Disposal

Sharps Waste

Sharps Waste

Sharps waste is a form of biomedical waste composed of used sharps, which includes any device or object used to puncture or lacerate the skin. Sharps waste is classified as biohazardous waste and must be carefully handled, and disposed of through the use of sharps containers. Sharps containers are specially made containers used to contain hazardous piercing instruments to reduce the risk of injury and spread of infection.

FDA sharps disposal guidelines state:

Used sharps can only be disposed of in a sharps container
Sharps containers may be supplied by companies such as Red Bags
Sharps containers must be rigid and puncture-proof

Examples of sharps waste includes:

Medical needles and syringes
Suture needles, scalpel blades, butterflies
Diabetic lancets and insulin needles
Vacutainer tubes (blood collection tube), both plastic and glass
Phlebotomy needles with vacutainer tube holder attached
Capillary tubes, both plastic and glass
IV catheters
Dental wires and endodontic files
Expired or used epinephrine auto-injectors

Additional Resources:

What’s Going in That Sharps Container?
Where Do I Get Sharps Containers?
Choosing the Right Sharps Containers for Your Facility
Diabetic Sharps Disposal At Home
Standards for Mailing Sharps Waste
Improper Medical Waste Packaging: What You Need To Know

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