Safely disposing of needles, syringes, lancets, and other medical equipment you use at home is of utmost importance, for a few obvious reasons. Anything that can be used to puncture your skin can potentially puncture someone else’s, so you’ll need to make sure that the needles are disposed of in a way that minimizes the risk of injury. And of course, the transmission of illness is a serious risk with used needles. Needles can puncture a regular trash bag and cause injury to whoever collects it. No one wants that to happen. The absolute best way to store and dispose of needles and syringes is with a sharps container.
You’ve probably seen a sharps container mounted to the wall of your doctor’s office or local pharmacy. But if you use needles at home, such as for insulin medication, it’s important to have a way to safely store and dispose of those needles in your house. Fortunately, you can easily buy sharps containers for home use.
In a pinch, an empty detergent or bleach bottle can be used as a sharps container. They’re sturdy and have a sealing lid, and if you properly label them, you can safely dispose of them. But sharps containers are a step up in terms of safety. A red sharps container with a biohazard label can’t possibly be confused for laundry supplies, and sharps containers often have built-in safety features like lids that can be permanently locked once filled. Many states allow you to simply throw out a properly sealed sharps container with the trash, but some places don’t. In those cases, you’ll need to take the sealed container to a place that accepts them. Fortunately, there are many hospitals and pharmacies that will take used sharps containers.
We’ve rounded up a few different sharps containers for home use. Many of them have features like locking safety lids that will ensure the container can’t accidentally be opened once they’re closed. Also included in this list are a few portable sharps containers, so you can safely and conveniently take medication on the go with a container that can fit in your pocket or bag.
1. OakRidge Products 1 Quart Size (Pack of 3) Sharps Disposal Container
Whether you like to stock up or you just want to be able to have sharps containers in a few different places, this pick from OakRidge is a good option. There are three 1-quart containers included in the order. The small size means you can take it on the go or comfortably fit it on a medium-sized counter or shelf. The container is FDA-approved, meaning it’s also suitable for use by professionals. The lid features a sliding design that can be partially closed to cover the opening. Once the container is full, slide the cover all the way until it clicks into place. It will then be permanently sealed.
Pros: 3-pack of 1-quart sharps containers. FDA-approved and used by professionals. Partially closing design for added safety.
Cons: It’s possible to accidentally close the lid all the way, meaning that the container will be permanently sealed before it’s filled.
2. Kendall Sharps Container with Rotor Lid
This sharps container from Kendall is a 2-gallon size, meaning it will be able to store a lot of small needles before having to be disposed of. That makes it a convenient option for people who live in places where they can’t just throw out their sharps containers. The container has a rotating lid, similar to the top of a spice container, that permanently seals once fully turned. If you buy multiple containers the tapered design means the unused ones can be stacked for convenient storage.
Pros: Large size can hold a lot of needles before needing to be disposed of. Stackable design allows storage of unused containers.
Cons: No handle for carrying the container.
3. AdirMed Sharps Disposal Container 1 Quart – 6 Pack
This option from AdirMed is a good value — six containers are included for a low price, and each container holds one quart. The top has multiple slots that make for easy disposal of smaller and larger sharps. The front of the container has a label that clearly displays the biohazard logo, and there’s a line on the label that indicates the “fill line.” It features a partially closing design for safe storage, as well as a permanent lock when it’s time to dispose of the container. These containers are produced in an FDA-registered facility.
Pros: Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility. Affordable value that includes six 1-quart containers. Container can be temporarily closed and permanently sealed when full.
Cons: Container may be too short for long needles.
4. Dynarex Sharps Container
This large container from Dyranex has a total 2-gallon capacity, meaning it will be suitable for holding a large amount of sharps before needing to be disposed of. The brand also offers a variety of other convenient sizes from the same listing, including 1 quart, 5 quarts, 1 gallon, and 3 gallons. It features a sliding lid that allows you to easily drop needles into the container. Once full, it slides and locks into place. The maker, Dynarex, is a trusted brand in operation since 1967.
Pros: Has a handle on the side for easily carrying the container. The large container allows for the disposal of a lot of sharps before having to dispose of the container.
Cons: Lid can be hard to slide back and forth.
5. Ever Ready First Aid Transportable Sharps Container
These sharps containers from Ever Ready First Aid are highly compact, making them a great option for frequent travelers who take insulin. They’re about as long as a pen, but thicker to accommodate multiple needles. The containers can be opened and closed without being permanently locked, but there’s also a locking mechanism that can seal the container. The one featured comes with six containers, but you can also choose between one or 12 from the same listing.
Pros: Good option for travelers and those on the go. The container can be opened and closed one-handed for convenient use. It can also be closed without being sealed, allowing reuse, but you can also seal it to dispose of it.
Cons: Lid could be more secure.
6. BD Home Sharps Container
A convenient and simple option is this pick from BD. The container has a 1.4-quart capacity, and there’s a permanently sealing top to dispose of the container. There are two different openings for disposing of different kinds of sharps. One of the openings features a slot for removing needles from reusable syringes without having to touch the needle. The 1.4-quart size makes it small enough to be discreet but large enough to store a moderate amount of needles.
Pros: Convenient size. Dual hole design for disposing of multiple kinds of sharps.
Cons: Hole may be too small for some applications, like pen needles.
7. Sharps Container for Travel
Another travel option is this compact container from BTravel Savvy. It’s larger than some of the pen-sized options that can only hold a few needles but smaller than the home containers. That means that, while you won’t be able to fit it in a pocket, it can fit in bags and backpacks while traveling or commuting. It has a slotted top for unscrewing needles without using your fingers. When filled, the top can be flipped over and clicked into place to permanently seal it.
Pros: Compact option for travel, larger than pen-size but smaller than the standard home containers.
Cons: Container can’t be temporarily opened and closed, it can only be left open or permanently sealed.