Sharps containers come in all shapes and sizes. amfAR containers range from 1 pint to 8 gallons, please check the amfAR Syringe Exchange Supply Order Form for sizes and Item #’s.
Fitpacks (the black container to the right) are excellent personal use sharps containers small enough to fit in a purse or bag. Check out a photo HERE. If your participant population has repeated and documented difficulty returning syringes to the SEP your NYSDOH/AI contract manager may recommend your program receive Fitpacks free from amfAR.
Otherwise they can be purchased though Safetyworks or Total Access Group. They are 100 for $167 through both retailers (as of 8/14/13).
Put the plunger back inside of the barrel. With the syringe tip safely inside the barrel, the health risks associated with disposing of this syringe discretely in the garbage is cut down dramatically.
Many individuals bend the syringe tip or break it off. While this is a fabulous method of ensuring that no one uses the syringe after you, it still puts people at risk for needlestick injury and possible disease transmission.
Information below was taken directly from “Guide to Developing and Managing Syringe Access Programs” by Harm Reduction Coalition, 2010
Tips for increasing proper disposal and handling of sharps among individuals and SAP (Syringe Access Program) participants:
-Encourage participants to return used syringes and injecting equipment to the SAP for proper disposal. This can and should be done even in cases where disposal is not required in order to receive new equipment.
-Sharps containers are vital to safe syringe disposal. Distribute sharps containers to participants in multiple shapes and sizes for easier and safer transport of used sharps and biohazard.
-When regulation sharps containers are not available, encourage participants to use other rigid containers (such as detergent bottles, beverage bottles, etc), clearly marked as “DANGER: SHARPS” or “BIOHAZARD” to transport waste.
-Educate participants about proper handling of used syringes:
–Breaking the needle off of used syringes is dangerous and increases risk for needlestick injuries. If the syringe cap is lost, and no sharps container is available, the tip can be carefully broken off and re-inserted to the barrel of the syringe, reinserting the plunger afterward to trap the tip safely in the barrel.
–Only recap your own syringes. Recapping others’ syringes can increase risk of needlestick. It is unnecessary to recap if you have a sharps container readily available.
–To properly re-cap, it is best to leave the cap on a hard surface and without touching the cap, insert the point into the cap to avoid finger pricks.
-Educate participants about the risks of carrying other people’s syringes to the SAP, unless points are properly enclosed in a sharps container.
-Explain that flushing syringes in the toilet, throwing them away in the garbage, leaving them in parks/alleys, throwing them in drains, riversand streams and any other improper disposal methods puts municipal workers and others at risk of needlestick and/or can increase pressure on the SAP.
-Emphasize legal rights of syringe exchange participants to return used equipment.
-Educate about other possible disposal sites including hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, etc.