30 January 2009

Empty cleaning wipes bottle as safe disposal container for used needles and razor blades

From Kimberley:

I recently read the parent hack for storing yarn in an old cleaning wipes bottle. Talk about recycling! Awesome. Well, after reading this I realized that I re-purpose a wipes bottle as well.

I have terrible migraines that can trigger a seizure if not treated immediately. Being allergic to certain medications I am limited to what I can use. One of the medications comes in the form of a shot. As you can imagine, storing used needles until they can be disposed of properly is a big concern. I didn't want to risk my child getting hurt if she came across one nor did I want those who deal with our trash to be injured.

I was about to dispose of an empty disinfectant wipes container and realized it was the perfect solution to the problem. We've labeled the container so that it doesn't get left out for little hands to reach. It's also perfect for storing used razor blades. Anything sharp that has to go into the trash is stored in the Lysol Wipes container until it's full and ready to be disposed of properly. We keep it in our childproof locked linen closet on a high shelf that is out of reach.

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This is a great idea, and a nice re-use of something that is otherwise an awful lot of packaging--though I'm wondering if used needles are really supposed to be disposed of in a labeled biohazard container?

Talk to your doctor or insurance company, if you have one. Mine gave me an official biohazard container. It is red with biohazard symbols on it and is thicker than a cleaning wipe box. It comes in a cardboard box that when it fills up is postage paid to be sent to somewhere that deals with this kind of trash. It shouldn't just be going into the regular trash or dump.

Yes, let me repeat what the others have said: things like used needles need to go in a sharps container, properly labelled for biohazard disposal (and also puncture proof.) I don't have a citation, but I've been told that it's actually against the law in many states to dispose of them in any other container. The red biohazard containers may or may not be covered by your medical plan, but even if they're not, a container that takes a year of my diabetes testing supplies costs me $4 including disposal. Very cheap, and worth it at five times the cost.

Sharps Disporal Containers are actually really cheap and available at any drugstore, but sometimes you have to ask for it behind the counter. It's really dangerous and might even be illegal to dispose of medical material unless it's properly labeled. People who work at landfills need to know that they should stay away from this stuff, and if they were to pick up this wipes container - especially if you local dump tried to weed out recyclable plastic - they might get pricked with your needles.

Here's a basic sharps container for less than $4. They're not much more expensive @ CSV, either.
http://www.amazon.com/Container-Insulin-Leak-proof-Puncture-resistant-Convenient/dp/B000SOP4UY/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1233333853&sr=8-1

I don't mean this to sound jerky or anything, but I'm actually getting worried about potential Parent Hacks liability for disseminating this tip as "safe".

Maybe the laws are different in different states, but where I live, it is perfectly okay to dispose of needles and lancets (my son is a diabetic) in things with thick plastic sides like empty detergent bottles. (This refers to personal use only.) The needles do not pierce the sides and when we are through with a bottle, we put duct tape around the lid to further secure it before tossing it in the trash. We would, obviously, never endanger our trash collectors, nor would we break the law.

Did people not read the part where I said that the container was Labeled and Disposed of properly in my hack? It is not just tossed away without concern for those who may come across it. I asked my doctor how to dispose of my used needles and was informed that any hard-plastic container would work and is acceptable to use in our area. If you use alot of needles then I suggest that you use a red box but for someone who uses them so rarely I think this is an acceptable way to store and dispose of them.

MidlifeMidwife ~ thank you for your kind words and support to my hack.

Kimberly - good hack. I hope you can disregard the people who didn't carefully read what you wrote. Previous commenters are well-meaning but...yeah, it's a little irksome to be treated as if you aren't a thoughtful, careful, responsible person when in fact you are.

It seems that there have been several hacks lately (icicle for mouth pain, balloon as foot rest etc...) that have received slightly alarmist comments from people who could be described as 'overly cautious.' Asha - any comment on this? Maybe this is just the nature of a site like this.

Perhaps we could all give each other the benefit of the doubt and assume we are all doing the best job we can at being parents. I don't think Asha would choose to post a hack which is obviously dangerous.

To the very, very careful and cautious parents out there: I'm glad you have the safety of others in mind, but please remember when you comment that what you write can be construed as shooting down someone's idea...please be as kind and diplomatic as possible. That being said, most of the comments on this post, did seem polite and thoughtful.

So, when I read it, I was thinking of sewing needles.

I read Hannah's comment and must tell you that I responded to both this hack and the "balloon as a foot rest" one. I think it's okay to say if a hack is dangerous, as long as it is done politely. Knowing what happened to my patient's son, I could not merely sit by and support the balloon hack---it would not be morally correct IMO.

Frequency is not a convincing argument. If you can put the wipes, hand-labeled, hard-plastic container on a high shelf for your infrequent needle use, you can put the $4 properly labeled, closed, universally recognized plastic container on a high shelf for your infrequent needle use.

It's $4 for piece of mind. Needles can't come out of a sharps container. It's labeled with the universal symbols for biohazard. It's the safe, proper way to dispose of needles. And it's only $4. You put this stuff in your trash and it sits outside. Maybe it's alarmist to think of all the ways that hand-labeling the container isn't good enough, or all the ways the needles could still get out of packaging that was not meant to keep things IN, but it's only four dollars to make sure none of that happens.

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