river and trees

Last updated on April 19, 2022

Your local environment has a significant impact on your health. Air pollution, water quality, safe neighborhoods, and access to healthcare are all important components of a community’s overall health and safety levels. Even small individual actions, like correctly disposing of unused/unwanted medications and used sharps, contribute to the community by preventing water contamination, drug diversion, and injuries/spread of disease from discarded needles.

At Sharps Compliance, we provide medical and pharmaceutical waste disposal solutions to help individuals protect their communities and local environments.

Convenient Medication Disposal Options for Ultimate Users

Ultimate users are those to whom a medicine is prescribed and includes most of the public. Ultimate users shouldn’t dispose of unused/unwanted medications in the trash or by flushing because of health and environmental dangers.

  • Community water quality: Some landfills route their “leachate” (the mix of leaky wastes and rainwater that drains out of the landfill) to wastewater drains. However, most municipal wastewater treatment facilities cannot filter out pharmaceuticals, so trace amounts end up in drinking water.
  • Environmental contamination: Landfill leachate may also contaminate waterways and groundwater, affecting both humans and wildlife.

Drug diversion is another concern, particularly with leftover opioid medications. Two-thirds of Americans don’t safely dispose of unused medications, even though it is a vital strategy for protecting water quality and preventing prescription drug abuse.

Local pharmacies can help: Studies have shown that patient education about the danger of opioid drug diversion encourages safe disposal. Community pharmacies can provide both consumer education and convenient disposal options with our medication disposal solutions.

  • TakeAway Environmental Return Systems are used for the safe disposal of non-controlled, non-hazardous medications. Unused medications (in original containers) are simply placed into the TakeAway System collection box. When full, the box is returned to Sharps Compliance for destruction.
  • MedSafe medication drop boxes accept controlled (Schedules II-V), non-controlled, and over-the-counter medicines. They’re available in 38- and 18-gallon sizes. Facilities registered as DEA collectors who manage the collection program can buy or lease a MedSafe collection receptacle. Some states (e.g., Montana and North Dakota) even have initiatives that offer MedSafe drop boxes at little or no cost to pharmacies.

Some consumers may prefer the privacy and convenience of in-home disposal, which our TakeAway Medication Recovery System envelopes support. They allow commingled collection and disposal of patient-dispensed controlled substances (Schedules II-V) and non-controlled medications. Patients fill the envelopes at home and return them with the included USPS prepaid shipping label.

Protecting Workers and the Public from Needlestick Injuries

As more people are diagnosed with chronic diseases, the market for injectable drugs is increasing rapidly. The US is the fastest-growing market for prefilled syringes. A Precedence Research study estimated a combined annual growth rate of 10.2% between 2022 and 2030.

Patient education about needle disposal and access to affordable, convenient disposal solutions is vital.

Safe needle disposal helps protect the public and sanitation workers from needlestick injuries. Sharps should never be placed in regular trash containers, recycling bins, public trash cans, or discarded on the ground.

Our home-based sharps disposal options include:

  • Sharps Recovery System: A USPS-authorized medical waste mailback system provides a sharps container and a prepaid label to dispose of sharps and other small quantities of medical waste.
  • Travel-size Sharps Tubes: These tubes are ideal solutions for on-the-go self-injectors who may need a short-term solution for used sharps containment. Note: These tubes can’t be individually discarded. Filled tubes must be placed in a sharps container (e.g., a Sharps Recovery System container), not in regular trash or recycle bins, for proper disposal.

We offer two options for public sharps waste disposal:

  • TakeAway Recovery Systems helps airports, retail stores, hospitality providers, local governments, schools, and other facilities offer safe, DOT-compliant sharps waste collection.
  • Sharps Secure Needle Disposal System features a sturdy, lockable collection cabinet that allows entry by authorized personnel only. When the sharps container inside the cabinet is full, it is placed in a prepaid mailback box for transport and proper treatment.

Do you know what to do if you find a discarded syringe?

Sharps Compliance Is Committed to Environmental Sustainability

The first Earth Day event on April 22, 1970 brought widespread attention to the environmental problems caused by pollution and industrial waste disposal. At Sharps Compliance, we are committed to a socially responsible and environmentally sensitive approach to regulated waste management. Our innovative solutions help protect our environment, support recycling and green energy production, and safeguard human health. For example:

  • 4,459,000 TakeAway Medication Envelopes distributed to ultimate users for mailback disposal
  • 594,000 pounds of medication collected via TakeAway Medication Envelopes
  • 6,700 MedSafe collection drop boxes placed in retail pharmacies and other public places
  • 5 million pounds of unused medicines deposited in MedSafe drop boxes

Contact us at 800.772.5657 or request a service quote to learn more about our innovative medical waste disposal solutions. We can help you create a custom solution that fits your needs and budget.

Kathryn earned her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from Texas A&M University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas. She is certified in high-complexity testing by the ASCP and has been published in the journal Cancer Cytopathology. Her experience ranges from the clinical laboratory to compliance expertise in biohazardous waste management.

published in News