Used hypodermic needle disposal: how to treat medical sharps waste safely


Used hypodermic needles represent one of the most hazardous types of medical waste and account for a large portion of the waste generated by the healthcare industry each year. Their safe disposal is a priority at every medical facility that uses them for the treatment of patients.

Read on to find out how hospitals, dental and veterinary clinics, and other facilities can safely handle the disposal of used hypodermic needles!

Hypodermic needles as medical waste: why is safe disposal so important?

Medical waste like hypodermic needles is categorized as any tool or equipment that made contact with infectious substances such as blood and other bodily fluids. Hypodermic needles (also known as “sharps”) are very thin, with a hollow tube and a sharp tip at their end.

They are used in many treatments that require rapid delivery of liquids via injection, in cases where the substance cannot be absorbed via ingestion or would otherwise harm the body. Such is the case with vaccines or even insulin.

Even after they are used, hypodermic needles can easily pierce the human skin, which is one of the main reasons why their correct disposal is so important. This means they can easily spread infections to medical staff or even other patients with a simple prick. Sharps cannot be reused, and need to be rendered into an unrecognizable state via methods like incineration or shredding.

Not to mention any facility can expect heavy fines if their waste management system doesn’t have a solution in place for the disposal of used hypodermic needles.

The process of used hypodermic needle disposal – medical waste storage and transportation

The basic procedure for hypodermic needle disposal is the same as all other categories of medical waste. Once sharps are used, they need to be collected and segregated and put in special waste containers, which will then be stored until the final disposal can occur.

In the case of hypodermic needles, medical waste containers need to be puncture-proof. Otherwise, sharps could easily pierce through traditional trash bags and potentially infect whoever handles collection or further transportation. To make the identification of the different categories easier, containers that are used for the storage of hypodermic needle medical waste are color-coded. They are usually either red, yellow, or translucent/white, but almost always marked by the universally recognizable biohazard symbol.

Even with the right containers and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) medical staff should always take extra care whenever handling waste that is this dangerous. Containers should NEVER be overfilled, and staff must remember never to push the waste inside, as that can easily lead to sharps waste puncturing their skin. Once the containers are at about 75% capacity, they can be considered full.

As for the disposal of used hypodermic needles, this can traditionally occur off-site via a licensed transportation service, or via more modern on-site solutions. Such as the case with Celitron’s ISS: the Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder.

Disposal of used hypodermic needles with Celitron’s medical waste shredder: what are the benefits?

Celitron has created its own high-tech solution for handling the process of the disposal of used hypodermic needles. By integrating the functions of a medical waste shredder and a steam sterilizer autoclave, the ISS is perfectly equipped to treat biohazardous waste like sharps. It can even handle full waste containers.

The Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder use high-pressure steam at 134 degrees Celsius to kill foreign materials that would otherwise be resistant to heat. By shredding the waste inside its chamber with powerful blades, it provides even better penetration for the steam, ensuring that medical waste is indeed sterile once it has been treated by the ISS.

Here are some other benefits you can expect by using Celitron’s ISS for hypodermic needle disposal:

Varying capacity for facilities of all sizes

The disposal of up to 150 kgs worth of hypodermic needles can be handled with the ISS each hour. This makes it particularly effective for hospitals that need to process a large amount of waste each day. Celitron’s medical waste shredder is also available with a 25, 150, and 560 liter capacity chamber so that even smaller clinics can choose a model they can operate cost-effectively.

On-site hypodermic needle disposal

Any hypodermic needle that comes out of the ISS will be rendered into a completely sterile pile of medical waste which can be disposed of like regular municipal waste. The load that comes out will be unrecognizable, free of infectious materials and liquids, and reduced by 80% in size. You can treat infectious waste right at the site of your medical facility, thus eliminating the risks associated with storing and transporting sharps waste.

The ISS can also treat:

  • Medical waste contaminated with blood/blood by-products
  • Discarded diagnostic samples containing blood and body fluids
  • Dialysis waste
  • Textiles
  • Plastics
  • Syringes
  • Glass
  • Organic materials
  • Lab cultures and specimens

Sustainable and cost-effective

Compared to on-site incinerators, Celitron’s solution for hypodermic needle disposal can be installed much more easily as it requires much less available space. Not to mention its operation and maintenance are much less costly. It emits no bad odors or harmful substances and requires much less energy to operate.

Completely automated hypodermic needle disposal process

Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder operates automatically. Once the medical waste has been loaded inside, even the door of the system will close automatically with the push of a button. Extra safety measures are also in place to prevent the door of the chamber from being opened until the cooldown phase is over.

No matter the method you choose for the disposal of used hypodermic needles, the priority is always the same: minimizing risks towards people and the environment.

Celitron’s ISS (Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder) provides an effective, safe, and easy-to-use on-site method for treating infectious medical waste. Check out our website for more details on our hypodermic needle disposal solution!

You can also CONTACT US if you have any questions and for a free quote to install the ISS at your medical facility!

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