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Sharps, or “Shaaaahps,” Containers.

In the last few weeks, I’ve taken some device breaks and reverted back to some of my multiple injection (MDI) ways (until skin rashes healed up, bruises started dotting up my skin landscape, and frustration with trying to draw up 1/4 of a unit of Humalog using a syringe tossed me back into DeviceLand).  It was a good break and one I needed, but I was reminded of how many sharps I can accumulate during the course of a week on MDI.

Back when I lived at home with my parents, my mom used an empty detergent bottle to throw my sharps into.  When it was full, she taped it up with duct tape and my dad disposed of it somewhere “official.” (But to be honest, I have no idea where he brought it.  The shed at my childhood home could be filled with used insulin syringes shoved into fleets of Tide bottles, for all I know.)  When I moved out and went to college, I continued the same system only I brought my full sharps containers to our local pharmacy.

These days, I don’t generate a lot of sharps and currently have a few containers that need to be disposed of (tips from Joslin on sharps disposal here), but that’s largely in part due to the fact that I rarely use syringes these days.  Even when I’m on pump vacations, I tend to use insulin pens over orange-capped syringes.  (Did anyone use one of these back in the day?  I loved this thing.  It was like a fingernail clipper for my drug paraphernalia.)  I busted out a “formal” sharps container that I had in storage for the last few years and have been using it for pen needle tips, lancets, etc.

Sharps. Or, if you're from New England: "shaaaaahps."

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

It feels strange and foreign to not be shoving my sharps into a discarded laundry detergent bottle.  I feel like my sharps went all professional.  Like they wear tie clips and have board room lunches. But, at the very least, they are properly contained and will be properly disposed of and that makes me feel like I’m properly PWD’ing.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. I used an old coffee can and cut the needles with a wire cutter. Your Sharps Container May Vary.

    04/14/15; 2:43 pm
  2. I use a sharps container. It takes forever to fill……..the only things that go in it are the rare lancet (let’s face it, I change that far far far far far less often than I should), the needles from filling my t:slim, and the needles from my infusion sets…..I recycle the rest of the infusion set, however. I use Insets, which are made of a plastics that can be recycled where I live, so I use a pair of everyday pliers to pull the needle out of the Inset after I’ve used it, place the needle in my sharps container, and then recycle the entire rest of the Inset insertion device.

    04/14/15; 2:50 pm

    04/14/15; 3:41 pm
  4. jenn_ns #

    My pharmacy used to hand out these handy-dandy little buckets. …and i would use that bucket for everything else but sharps! …lol When you needed a bucket, but not a big bucket, there they were! They would stand on them at the pharmacy to put the cover on…. until you yell ‘nooooooooo!! don’t put the cover on!!’ (rendering the bucket useless!) Now they give us those yellow sharps containers that they have in hospitals. Soooo unattractive! With the teeter-tauter thingy that will swallow anything that falls in. I once had to disassemble one because it ate my lancet clicker…lol… and I just keep reusing that one and dump my sharps into a new container to return to the pharmacy.

    04/14/15; 3:42 pm
  5. I use a Hubs Chocolate Covered Peanuts Can –

    Makes me smile!

    04/14/15; 6:05 pm
  6. Currently, I’m about to fill up a plastic peanut butter jar. Before, I’d use the plastic bottles from the fancy creamers my wife likes — perfect for an spent FlexPen. If nothing’s handy at home, I use it as an excuse to treat myself to a Vitamin Water.

    If I can find a roll of duct tape, the containers get mummified. I feel sorry for the archaeologists thousands of years from now finding my trash. Diabetical detritus, along with the many plastic bags of doggy poop.

    04/14/15; 9:42 pm
  7. We washed out large Kraft Parmesan cheese shaker containers, removed the label and covered them with a beautiful craft paper, leaving the bottom see through. They sit pretty on a family room shelf and on our Pip’s bedside table. (I realize this makes us seem super lazy!) When they’re full, we dump everything into a Tide Pod container to later put out (labeled and overly duct-taped) on the lid of our garbage can. The doggy and kitty poop goes inside the can. Poor garbage man. Our garbage sucks.

    04/14/15; 11:32 pm
  8. ria #

    still use MDI all of the time
    Pen needles, lancets, everything “diabetes” goes into an approx. 2 qt. sharps.
    Where I live ,only one medical center , approx. 20 miles away,accepts full containers .
    In exchange I get another empty one.
    They are a lovely coral pink….ha !

    04/15/15; 11:35 am
  9. Tim Steinert #

    I remember buying one of those HUGE red five quart monstrosities when first diagnosed (and they weren’t concerned with what Type I was, because oral meds still worked for meals). I thought that thing would last forever until I started mealtime insulin. Now it’s 2 Liter plastic pop bottles or gallon milk jugs (for those big blue infusion set needles).

    In my area (Seattle), you can take sharps to a public health center and there’s a big sharps receptacle at the front of the place. Those red containers require a disposal fee up front which is nonsense (or some word like it) for those of us who are exceedingly sharp.

    04/15/15; 1:05 pm
  10. Dee #

    My first thought upon finding a sharps container in the restroom at my new job: SCORE!!! My second thought? Now I have to find all the half full random containers of pen needles and lancets floating around my house….

    04/15/15; 6:39 pm
  11. So … I gave my buddy that sharps container advice. He took it to his local CVS and they refused to take it. He then tried a CVS in another town. Same thing. So now he just buys the ridiculous expensive CVS sharps containers.

    Does any pharmacy actually accept used “home made” sharps containers or even the “official ones”?

    04/26/15; 7:50 am

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