Written by Amy Piser
16 May 2024

Safe Disposal: Where To Dispose of Sharps Containers

The proper disposal of sharps is a critical component in healthcare settings, ensuring safety and minimizing risks associated with sharps waste.

Managing sharps waste efficiently poses challenges, necessitating effective solutions to protect healthcare workers and patients alike. Today, we'll provide a comprehensive guide covering how and where to dispose of sharps containers in the United States, emphasizing the importance of adhering to state and federal regulations in order to ensure safety and compliance.


1 / What Are Sharps Containers Used For?

2 / How to Dispose of Sharps Containers

3 /  When Should Sharps Containers Be Emptied?

4 / A Safety First, Green Solution: The Sharpsmart System by Daniels Health

5 / Why Daniels Health?

6 / Daniels’ Reusable Sharps Containers: Setting a New Standard in Sharps Safety 

What Are Sharps Containers Used For?

Sharps containers are specialized receptacles designed for the safe disposal of needles, syringes, and other sharp medical instruments. They play a crucial role in medical waste management, preventing needlestick injuries and the spread of infections. It's essential to understand what qualifies as “sharps” waste and why these containers are indispensable in medical environments. 

How to Dispose of Sharps Containers

In the United States, the disposal process for sharps containers involves adhering to specific regulations to ensure safety and compliance. Local, state, and federal guidelines dictate the proper disposal methods, emphasizing the necessity to follow these regulations closely for compliant and safe sharps disposal.

Sharps Disposal Containers in Health Care Facilities

In a healthcare facility, the proper disposal of sharps containers is guided by specific procedures designed to ensure safety and compliance with regulatory requirements. Here's how one should properly dispose of sharps containers in such settings:

1. Use of FDA-Cleared Sharps Disposal Containers: Healthcare facilities are recommended to use FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers to dispose of used needles and other sharps. These containers are made from rigid, puncture-resistant plastic or metal with leak-resistant sides and bottoms and have tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lids. The openings are designed to accommodate the depositing of sharp objects without allowing hand access.

2. Handling Supply Shortages: In cases where FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are scarce, healthcare facilities are advised to refer to the CDC’s Strategies for Sharps Disposal Container Use During Supply Shortages for conservation strategies and alternative medical sharps disposal methods.

3. Disposal Process:

  • Filling the Container: Sharps disposal containers are marked with a line to indicate when they are about three-fourths full.
  • Sealing the Container: Once a container reaches this fill level, it should be closed and sealed following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Following Facility Policy: Dispose of the sealed container according to the healthcare facility’s policy and procedures, instructions from the medical waste disposal vendor, and local medical waste disposal guidelines.

4. Safety Measures: To reduce the risk of injury to healthcare personnel, full medical sharps disposal containers should not be opened, emptied, or manually cleaned.

5. Reporting Issues: Healthcare providers are encouraged to report any adverse events or suspected adverse events experienced with sharps disposal containers through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program, or follow the reporting procedures established by their facilities if subject to the FDA's user facility reporting requirements.

By adhering to these guidelines, healthcare facilities can ensure the safe disposal of sharps, protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries, and comply with regulatory standards. Again, it's important to note that local, state, and federal guidelines largely dictate proper disposal methods in the United States. Visit SafeNeedleDisposal.org for a state-by-state guide detailing medical waste disposal requirements in your locality.

When Should Sharps Containers Be Emptied?

When should sharps containers be emptied? To minimize improper disposal risks, sharps disposal containers in health care facilities should be emptied before they become overfilled. Guidelines suggest that once a container reaches three-quarters full, it's time to dispose of it according to community standards, reducing the chance of needlestick injuries and ensuring safe waste management practices.

A Safety First, Green Solution: The Sharpsmart System by Daniels Health

The Sharpsmart system represents a significant advancement in healthcare waste management. Designed with safety and sustainability in mind, this system features overfill protection, reusability, and hands-free disposal. And, as a reusable system, it undergoes a rigorous sanitization process, making it a safe, sustainable alternative to disposable sharps containers.

Reducing Needlestick Injury Risk with Sharpsmart

The Sharpsmart system's design, including its safety tray and anti-bounce features, substantially reduces the risk of needlestick injuries.

Peer-reviewed studies highlight the effectiveness of our reusable sharps containers, demonstrating up to an 87% reduction in sharps-related injuries, showcasing its critical role in enhancing healthcare worker safety.

Sharpsmart's hands-free disposal and advanced sanitization processes significantly mitigate infection control risks. The system's design supports the highest hygiene and safety standards, making it an essential tool in modern healthcare environments.

Why Daniels Health?

Daniels Health is at the forefront of sharps waste management and disposal procedures, offering innovative solutions like the Sharpsmart system to ensure compliance and improve safety in healthcare settings. 

We are proud to have been chosen by over 8,200 US facilities as a vendor of choice for healthcare waste services, including our very first customer that we signed 22 years ago. Look no further than our partner testimonials to see how the Daniels Health difference has positively impacted healthcare environments country-wide.

Daniels’ Reusable Sharps Containers: Setting a New Standard in Sharps Safety

The Sharpsmart system by Daniels Health is redefining sharps safety and waste management in the healthcare industry. Prioritizing safety, sustainability, and compliance, our safe and convenient disposal options continue to revolutionize healthcare safety standards. Partner with Daniels Health today and ensure your facility is equipped with gold-standard medical waste disposal solutions.


Let’s Talk!

Daniels Health is ready to assist health care providers looking to enhance their waste management practices with the Sharpsmart system.

Contact us for more information on sharps disposal at health care facilities or if you need further clarification on where to dispose of sharps containers. Or request a quote and take the first step towards a safer, greener solution for sharps disposal.




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Amy Piser

Amy Piser

Clinical Waste Educator

With 26 years experience working in healthcare, Amy has implemented sustainability initiatives for over 100 hospitals across the United States and brings unique practice and compliance expertise to healthcare waste management.