Why continually buy disposable sharps containers when you can buy reusable ones? Believe it or not, sharps containers can be reused if they are designed to be reused and handled and decontaminated properly. Reusable sharps containers provide many benefits over their disposable counterparts.
Benefits of Reusable Sharps Containers
Less waste in landfills
Sharps and their containers are considered waste once they’ve been used and can’t be used again. They’re sent to a treatment facility to be autoclaved before being sent to a landfill to be buried.
Think of all the healthcare facilities just in the United States that produce this type of waste. The volume produced is almost hard to comprehend…and we’re not even talking about other types of medical waste.
With reusable sharps containers, the amount of waste that finds its way to the landfill is significantly reduced. The sharps themselves still make the journey, but the containers don’t. This reduces the amount of plastic and cardboard waste that ends up in the landfill by thousands of pounds.
Smaller Carbon Footprint
After treatment, the waste is transported via truck to landfill. Think of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted just with the trip to and from the landfill site alone. With a reusable sharps container, there’s less pollution that makes its way into the atmosphere. It may not be your company’s truck driving to and from the landfill, but you’re indirectly lessening your carbon footprint.
Reusable sharps containers may be more expensive on the front-end, but they can save you thousands in the long run. Think of how much money you spend on disposable sharps containers. You have to pay that price plus shipping every single time you make an order. With reusable ones, you pay upfront and don’t have to worry about it again.
Safety continues to remain a top priority for you, your employees, and your patients. Since they’ll endure use over a long period of time, they’re equipped with more safety features than disposable ones, such as ensuring you don’t exceed the fill line and avoiding injuries.
How to Safely Reuse Your Sharps Containers
As great as reusable sharps containers are, there are still regulations in place and a proper way to handle them.
OSHA requires that they are never manually opened, emptied, or cleaned and they are opened and decontaminated using an automated system. Their plastic must also be thicker, puncture-resistant, leak-proof and appropriately labeled and colored.
Given these requirements, you’ll have to contract a certified company. They will still take your sharps containers, but they will clean them at the treatment facility and bring them back. We recommend you purchase two or three sets of sharps containers (depending on the volume of sharps waste your practice produces) to rotate between while one set is being cleaned.
Reusable sharps containers may provide many benefits. They’re cost-effective, safer, and are more environmentally friendly. They’re a great solution if your practice is looking to reduce the amount of waste you send to a landfill.