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4 Ways to Safely Dispose of Used Needles
November 10, 2016
If you're injecting your dog with insulin twice a day, chances are you have used needles piling up in your house. Since needles are only supposed to be used once (or twice in an emergency), you could potentially have 60 needles to dispose of each month!
Given the potential health hazard of used needles, here are a few ways you can safely dispose of them:
1) Check With Your Vet
Many Vets will take your used needles free of charge. They have experience disposing of hazardous waste, so make sure to check with your Vet to see if they would be willing to take your used needles. Some Vets may charge you a nominal fee (generally less than $10). If you need a container to store the needles until you visit the vet, you can use a sharps container (see below), a coffee can, or a laundry detergent bottle. Ideally, it's best to put the caps back on the needles before storing them in any container.
2) Ask for a Sharps Container from a Pharmacy
Most pharmacies (and stores like Walmart that have pharmacies inside of them) have containers that you can use to dispose of used needles called "sharps containers". When full, you can go back to the drug store and exchange them for a new container. Sharps containers can be expensive to buy (around $40 each), so check first to see if you can find a store that will let you exchange the containers for free.
3) Buy a Needle Clipper
If your vet or local pharmacy doesn't take used needles, consider buying a needle clipper. A needle clipper allows you to cut off just the needle and then you can dispose of the syringe in the trash. Then, you can save up the needles and take them to a waste disposal facility every 3-6 months instead of every couple of weeks. You can find needle clippers on Amazon for less than $10.
4) Check With the Local Fire/Police Department
In the course of their jobs, fire and policemen and women often come into contact with hazardous materials. Generally, they will have some kind of hazardous waste disposal program at their stations that you can utilize. Make sure to check with your local departments if one of the other options doesn't work.
Have any other used needles disposal methods? Let us know if the comments!