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How to Dispose of Insulin Needles

How to Dispose of Insulin Needles
A young person disposes of a needle in a sharps container. Photo Credit: Henfaes/iStock/Getty Images

If you are a diabetic and you give yourself insulin injections, proper disposal of your needles and syringes is important to prevent injury to yourself or others. Insulin needles are made to be used only once, so depending on your blood sugar levels and recommendations from your doctor, you may go through several needles a day. If your doctor doesn’t advise you regarding how to dispose of your used needles, it's important for you to assume responsibility.

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Step 1

Place all used needles into a container that is puncture-resistant. This can be an old plastic bottle or tin can with a lid. You may be able to purchase a sharps container from your pharmacy, a household hazardous waste center or a national mail-back service. Sharps containers are the best choice, but if you do not have access to one, any puncture-resistant container will work.

Step 2

Dispose of your used insulin needles in your chosen receptacle until it is no more than three-quarters full. If you continue to stuff needles in until the container is too full, you risk sticking yourself.

Step 3

Seal the container. If you're using a plastic bottle, place the lid on tightly, then tape around the lid using strong tape. The lids of metal coffee cans and other containers should be reinforced with duct tape to prevent the needles from poking through.

Step 4

Call your health department to find recommended drop-off sites for your full needle container. Your city may accept household hazardous waste at specific places. Your doctor’s office or a pharmacy might also dispose of the bottle for you.

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