If you are running a business, the waste management side of things can be a little daunting at times.  There are often many rules and regulations to abide by when it comes to waste disposal and businesses who use sharp instruments are probably aware of sharps disposal but may not be familiar with all of the details and safety precautions involved.  This is incredibly important and by doing so, the risk of injury and contamination can be reduced greatly.

What Are Sharps?

Any object or instrument that has a point or sharp edge that could cause a cut or puncture is referred to as sharps. This includes everything from medical equipment such as needles, syringes and lancets to domestic items such as blades, scissors, wire and broken glass. Even shards of bone and teeth are considered as sharps waste.

Which Businesses Require Sharps Waste Disposal?

Sharps are especially dangerous when contaminated with hazardous materials such as medication or bodily fluids.  Sharps bins are required in the following settings for various types of sharps:

  • Medical centres, hospitals and clinics
  • Dentists
  • Beauty salons
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Car homes
  • Schools & child care settings   

People with conditions such as diabetes may also require a sharps bin at home if they rely on daily self administration of medication.  

Why Do Sharps Need To Be Disposed Of Separately?

The main reason for this is sharps could inflict an injury on either the person disposing of the item or the person removing the sharps waste from the building. The NHS reported 1,833 incidents of needlestick injuries in the five year period between 2012 and 2017.

Sharps carry the risk of not just physical injury but that of infection also. They are often used in situations that bring them into contact with bodily fluids such as blood. This is the greatest concern as blood can carry infectious diseases and should be treated with extreme caution.

The Health and Safety At Work Act has enforced the safe disposal of sharps and it is a legal obligation. It is a criminal offence not to comply with these regulations and it could result in prosecution, fines or even the closure of your business.

How To Dispose Of Sharps - What Type Of Bin Do I Need?

Whether you use sharps at home or in a working environment, they must be disposed of properly.  Sharps bins are usually yellow and are available in a choice of three colour coded lids.  The coloured lids make the waste easily identifiable and therefore it is essential that sharps waste is disposed of into the correct bins to prevent hazards. You can browse our range of sharps bin and containers here.

  • Orange lidded bins are designed for sharps that have been non-pharmaceutically contaminated.  This could include equipment that punctures the skin to take blood samples, used for acupuncture, tattoos or piercing.  Knives and sharp stationery items such as staples could be placed in this bin too.  
  • Yellow lidded bins are suitable for partially or completely empty sharps that contained medication or anaesthetics.
  • Purple lidded bins are suitable for cyto sharps.  Needles that will have contained cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines and are usually associated with hormone or cancer treatment.

Frontier 4L Sharps Bin Container

Who Disposes Of My Sharps Waste?

Often, it is a licensed waste removal service that collects sharps waste from medical and cosmetic settings. If you have a medical condition and use sharps at home, then your local council may be responsible for collecting and disposing of your sharps bin.

In addition, if you are a business that handles sharps then you are obligated to display sharps disposal posters. These will provide guidance and reminders to staff members about the safe disposal of these items to prevent injury and contamination.

We hope that you have found this post informative and that you are able to follow the guidance with regards to safe sharps disposal.




Post By Kelly Trethewey