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Sharps Disposal NZ: How To Safely Dispose Of Used Sharps

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Safety First Sharps Disposal NZ Symbol Sign

Safe sharps disposal NZ and how to safely dispose of your sharps is a key consideration for people with diabetes. ‘Sharps’ is a term for medical devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin.

Used needles and other sharps can injure people and spread infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV – that is why it is so important to dispose of them correctly and safely.

What are common types of sharps?

  • Needles
  • Syringes with attached needles
  • Lancets (short blades) used to prick fingertips to get a drop of blood for testing
  • Auto-injectors or pre-filled syringes with attached needles

Always put your used needles and other sharps into a suitable sharps container. Do this at home, work, school, and also when you are in a public place such as a park, shopping mall or restaurant for example.

Pharmacies may accept your sharps in a suitable household container (they’ll tell you which ones they will accept and are safe to use) or they can sell you a medical grade sharps container.

You can also purchase sharps containers from medical waste disposal companies, which may include a pick-up service.

Sharps disposal NZ – medical or home made disposal containers?

You can either purchase a medical grade sharps container, or make one yourself.

If you choose a home made version, your container MUST be made of heavy duty plastic. This can be a laundry detergent bottle or liquid laundry softener bottle. It must close with a tight lid that screws on. 

Needles should not be able to poke through (puncture) the lid. The container must be leak-proof, and able to sit up and not fall over (stable).

DO NOT use milk containers, water bottles, clear plastic containers, glass containers or soda cans. Some containers such as milk bottles can be quite dangerous as the needles can pierce the plastic.

Medical Grade – Sharps Disposal Container
Home Made, Heavy Duty Plastic, Laundry Detergent Bottle – Sharps Disposal Container

How do I put my sharps into the disposal container?

  • Put the used syringe with the needle into your sharps container or a hard, heavy duty household plastic container
  • Make sure the sharp end, or the pointed end, goes into the container first and is not sticking out of the top of the container
  • Do not overfill your sharps container, always leave a clear space at the top of the container
  • NEVER put your hand in the sharps container

DO NOT place individual sharps loosely into household rubbish bins, public rubbish bins, or recycling bins. Do not flush sharps down the toilet. Make sure that you keep all containers with sharp objects out of reach of children and pets

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