FDA-Cleared Sharps Containers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that used needles and other sharps be immediately placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. These strong, plastic containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, and online.

FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are available in a variety of sizes, including smaller travel sizes to use while away from home. Below are examples of FDA-cleared sharps containers:

sharps-container sharps disposal travel containers

 

Needle Clippers

needle clipperNeedle clippers, which are FDA-cleared sharps containers, automatically store cut needles. The remaining syringe, after the needle has been clipped, can be placed in the regular household trash. When the needle clipper is full, place it in an FDA-cleared sharps container or a strong, plastic container (see guidance below) and dispose according to your state or local regulations.

 

Alternative to FDA-Cleared Containers

If an FDA-cleared container is not available, place used sharps in a strong, plastic container, like a laundry detergent or bleach bottle. The container should be leak-resistant, remain upright during use, and have a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid. When the container is about 3/4 full, follow community guidelines for proper disposal methods.

 

What to Do If You Can’t Obtain a Sharps Disposal Container

The safest way to dispose of a used needle is to place it in a sharp disposal container immediately to reduce the risk of injury from loose sharps. If you cannot find a sharp disposal container right away, you may need to recap the needle or use a needle clipper until you have an opportunity to dispose of sharps in an appropriate disposal container. Never throw away loose needles and other sharps in trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet.

 

Recapping

If you need to put the cap back on the needle (recap), do not bend or break the needle and never remove a hypodermic needle from the syringe by hand. This may result in accidental needle sticks, cuts, or punctures. Recapping should be performed using a mechanical device or the one-handed technique. Recapped needles should be placed in a disposal container at the next available opportunity.