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Using a Sharps Container for Sharp Object Disposal

Parents and other caregivers often use sharp objects, such as needles and syringes, to care for sick children at home. If these sharp objects are not thrown away safely, they can cause injury, illness, and pollution. It is safest to use a sharps container. This container is specially made to hold sharp objects safely. You can use items at home or get a sharps container from your healthcare team.   

How to throw away sharps 

Throw away all needles, syringes, lancets, and other sharp objects in a hard, plastic or metal container. It should have a lid that fits tightly. Ask your care team if containers like this are available for you.

Sharps containers have hard sides and a twist on top to keep sharp objects safely inside.

Sharps containers have hard sides and a secure top to keep sharp objects safely inside.

When the container is ½ to ¾ full, tighten the lid. You can now put the sealed container in your trash. 

You can also use a coffee can to dispose of sharp objects. Before throwing the can away, cover the plastic lid with heavy-duty tape, such as duct tape. This makes the lid stronger. Sharp objects will not pierce the plastic lid. 

Do not put sharp objects in glass or clear-plastic containers. 

Do not put sharp objects in a container that will be recycled or returned to a store. 

Keep containers with sharp objects out of the reach of young children.

How to throw away other supplies 

Throw away soiled bandages, disposable sheets, and medical gloves in plastic bags. Close these bags well before you discard them with your other trash. 

For more information 

To learn more about throwing away sharp objects or other items used for patient care, talk to your child’s health care team. 

Reviewed: September 2022