Written by Laura Wakelam
06 Nov 2018

The Difference Between Disposable and Reusable Sharps Containers

Blog Resusable vs Disposable image

Decrease Your Contributions to Landfills

Reusable sharps and medical waste containers eliminate the need to purchase and dispose of single-use sharps containers or cardboard medical waste boxes, delivering not only an immediate cost saving but also protecting the environment! 33% of the volume of every sharps container is plastic that can be saved from landfill with a reusable system. Every year hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unnecessary waste from disposable plastic sharps containers and cardboard boxes are going into our landfill – we think we can be better than this.

“The 84% reduction of CO2eq emissions with the Daniels Sharpsmart system exceeds the 2020 reduction target for US federal hospitals and the 2050 target for UK NHS hospitals. If Daniels Sharpsmart reusable sharps containers were used nationally in the US, we estimate annual US hospital global warming potential would fall by 64,000 MTCO2eq.”

T Grimmond, S Reiner 

Reusable Sharps Containers Provide a Safe, Compliant and Cost Effective Alternative

The benefits of Daniels reusable Sharpsmart systems are extensive not only for the environment but for their impact on healthcare safety and clinical efficiencies:

  • Superior safety engineered design with tamper-proof security locks, overfill prevention mechanism, and protective safety tray eliminating risk of contamination or sharps injury
  • Larger volume containers reduce pickup frequencies and associated sharps disposal costs.
  • You eliminate the cost of purchasing and disposing of plastic sharps containers!
  • No bags, no outer packaging, no assembly. Daniels system is fitted with a water-tight seal that prevents leakage, and is DOT transport compliant. 
  • Each container is robotically washed through a 6-stage decontamination and sanitization process, delivering a cleaner result than a brand new container!


Reusable vs Disposable Sharps Containers - What is the environmental impact?

When a reusable container is filled, only the waste inside it is destroyed, lessening the environmental impact of discarded plastic and cardboard being sent to landfill. Daniels containers are hygienically washed through a vigorous robotic washing process which achieves the most significant bacterial load reduction in the industry, and once it undergoes a quality control check, it is returned to the hospital or facility for next use. A 2010 study documented a carbon emission reduction of 86% with the implementation of Daniels Sharpsmart containers for sharps disposal.


Each year, for every 100 occupied beds, the Daniels Sharpsmart reusable sharps container:

  • Reduces plastic waste by 7,000 lbs

  • Reduces cardboard waste by 720 lbs

  • Eliminates the manufacturing and landfilling of 4,691 disposable sharps containers

  • Eliminated 12.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year


Whilst the concept of recycling is very “green friendly”, the process is not as simple as it appears and can result in a negative environmental impact due to the extensive process of decontamination, cleaning and energy required to repurpose. A disposable container has twice the negative impact on the environment as they are not only utilizing energy for treatment, but also adding to the volume of residual material that ends up in landfills. Furthermore, for every disposable sharps container that is used, another new container must be manufactured as a replacement; a process which requires a completely new allocation of materials and energy resources.


Combatting Climate Change Together 



Sharps containers designed to put Safety First 

Daniels reusable sharps containers are designed with 13 safety features and stand in market solidarity with multiple peer reviewed studies documenting the dramatic needlestick injury reduction achieved in six countries. A study documented in the American Journal of Infection Control compared 28 hospitals, 14 of which converted to Daniels Sharpsmart containers and 14 of which retained their use of a disposable sharps container for sharps disposal. The results showed that sharps injuries increased in the 14 hospitals using the disposable containers, and in the controlled group that adopted the Sharpsmart system, disposal-related sharps injuries reduced by 57% and container-associated sharps injuries fell by 81%

Sharps, pharmaceutical, trace chemotherapy and RMW medical waste disposal has never been so simple or so safe with Daniels reusable containers. We are proud of the science, clinical input, and proven impact that our sharps and medical waste containers have made in the US healthcare market and as a company we commit to continuing to innovate forward to make healthcare safer for the people who work in it. To get a consultation and learn more about Daniels' reusable range of Sharpsmart containers, click the link below: 

Let's chat



Header Style: 
Laura Wakelam

Laura Wakelam

Global Chief Marketing Officer

Brand and Communications Curator of Daniels Health global group of companies, Laura is a strong believer in cause-driven brand identity and honest storytelling