The Ultimate Guide To Sharps Bin Collection and Disposal 2024

What are sharps bins?

As a business owner, you are responsible for ensuring that all waste produced in your facility is safely and securely disposed of. However, this duty is particularly important when dealing with potentially hazardous materials, such as sharps. By definition, ‘sharps’ refers to any materials that could puncture or cut the skin. This could, for example, include needles used in medical practices or tattoo parlours. Sharps bins are also used to dispose of clinical waste materials associated with sharps that may not necessarily be sharp themselves – this could include PPE.

Sharp bins

Sharps bins, therefore, are specially designed to safely store sharps prior to their collection and disposal – ensuring the safety of anybody who may come into contact with them. As they are so important, there are a range of different sharps bins on offer to meet the varied needs of customers.

At BusinessWaste, we provide our customers with easy access to a range of free bins, including sharps containers,to ensure that your waste is always safely and securely disposed of.

What are sharps bins used for?

As mentioned previously, sharps bins are used to dispose of any material that could puncture the skin. This could include:

  • Hypodermic needles
  • Syringes
  • Scalpels
  • Insulin pens
  • Lancets
  • Tattoo needles
  • Piercing needles/guns
  • Broken or contaminated glass
  • Broken or contaminated plastic
  • Scissors
  • Sharp knives
  • Scalpels
  • Pins
  • Staples
  • Razor blades
  • Metal wiring

Who uses sharps bins and why?

How do sharps bins work?

Sharps bins function similarly to the containers you would use to dispose of general waste. They are:

  • Sealable/lockable – to prevent unauthorised access
  • Made of a durable material that cannot be pierced or easily damaged
  • Colour coded
  • Available in a range of sizes, styles and shapes

What are the different kinds of sharps bins?

Sharps bins come in a variety of sizes, depending upon the amount of waste you dispose of on a daily basis. For example, medical facilities will likely produce high volumes of sharps waste, meaning that their sharps bins tend to be larger to cope with the increased demand. Sharps bins sizes are often measured in Litres and available in different colours and shapes.

Why are there different coloured bins?

Sharps bins are organised by colour to avoid cross-contamination of products and ensure that all waste is safely and securely disposed of.

Sharp bin colours

What colour sharps bins do I need?

When putting together your waste disposal plan, it can be hard to determine which sharps bin colouring is best for your business. The most common sharps bin colours are:

Orange-lidded sharps bins. Orange-lidded sharps bins are used to dispose of non-pharmaceutical sharp waste, such as tattoo or piercing needles, knives, stables, and other stationery products.

Orange lid sharps bin

Yellow-lidded sharps bins. Yellow-lidded sharps bins, sometimes referred to as medical sharps bins, are typically used to dispose of sharps that could have been contaminated with medical waste, such as syringes.

Yellow lid sharps bin

Blue-lidded sharps bins. Blue-lidded sharps bins are not actually used for waste that is considered ‘sharp’, but instead other forms of pharmaceutical/ medical waste such as expired pharmaceuticals and PPE.

Red-lidded sharps bins. Red-lidded sharps bins are used to store anatomical waste, such as blood bags.

Purple-lidded sharps bins. Purple-lidded sharps bins are used to store cytotoxic and cytostatic waste, such as disposable garments, medicinal vials, blister packs and patches.

Purple lid sharps bin

Where should I store sharps bins on my property?

As sharps bins present a significant health and safety risk to your employees and the general public, you must store them correctly before collection. For example, they should be stored at eye level, so that they cannot be knocked over. Due to this, many companies offer wall-mounted sharps bins. Ensure that you always lock or seal the container after use.

What are the laws regarding sharps bins?

There are various rules and regulations regarding waste disposal in the UK that all business owners must comply with. Examples of sharps bins regulations include:

  • Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 and 2015. These regulations dictate that appropriate training should be provided to employees so that they know how to dispose of sharps. Furthermore, sharps must be clearly labelled and stored in secure containers.
  • Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005. These regulations dictate that any waste that could be considered hazardous to others or the environment must be stored securely before collection.

Sharps bin collection

How are sharps bins disposed of?

Various disposal methods are used to safely and securely deal with sharps waste after collection. This includes:

  • Disposal via autoclave. Autoclaves are a form of a pressure chamber, which uses steam and high temperatures to sterilise sharps and medical equipment. The waste can then be compacted and safely disposed of.
  • Disposal via incineration. At Business Waste, we have high-temperature incinerators, which are used to dispose of waste whenever appropriate. They operate at a temperature of around 1,100 degrees. This is perhaps the most common method utilised when disposing of sharps bins waste.

Sharps bin disposal

How do I dispose of needles?

If your business or organisation uses any form of needles, you need to ensure you dispose of them safely and securely. You can use this step-by-step process as a guide for needles and sharps:

  • Do not attempt to bend or break sharps before disposal.
  • Where appropriate, use a needle clipper to remove the sharp part of a syringe.
  • Put all sharps into the appropriate sharps container immediately after usage.
  • Do not attempt to remove any sharps from the bin yourself.
  • Do not overfill the bin.
  • Arrange for the bin to be collected within an appropriate time frame.

When should sharps bins be disposed of?

Sharps bins must be disposed of when the container is around ¾ full. This reduces the risk of injury or cross-contamination whenever the waste is collected and helps ensure that you comply with all of the appropriate waste collection regulations.

You should not keep sharp waste at your facility for longer than a month. This means, at the very least, you should arrange to work with a company that will provide you with monthly sharps bin collection services.

How can I get sharps bins, and how do I arrange for them to be collected?

At Business Waste, we’re committed to providing our customers with the highest quality service across the board – no matter what waste you may be dealing with. When working with us, you’ll never have to worry about how to dispose of sharps bins alone – as you’ll be working with a team of experts with years of industry experience who know exactly how to get the job done.

As a result, we can provide you with free access to a range of different sharps bins and containers for use at your facility. We’ll then work closely with you to put together a waste management plan covering sharps bins disposal and aligns with your needs. This means you can arrange for the daily, weekly or monthly collection of sharps bins or additional waste. Collection times will be carefully coordinated, ensuring that we will not interfere with the day-to-day running of your business. We can also provide you with sharps bins accessories, such as trays and stands to ensure that they are always stored securely.

Sharps bin cost

Get in touch today to find out more about our sharps bin UK services or for a free quote. We’re always on hand to answer any questions you might have – and look forward to working together to secure a greener future.

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