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re-cycling empty pens

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by pollyr, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. pollyr

    pollyr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi
    Does anyone re-cycle their pens. I use humalog ones and have never asked anyone what they do with the empty pens.

    Thanks Polly
     
  2. peecee

    peecee Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Polly, as far as i know nobody can or is willing recycle these and they are just disposed of in the houshold rubbish. Contaminated rubbish like used test strips and needles i put in my sharps bin which is collected by my local council for incineration.
     
  3. pollyr

    pollyr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks peecee, I do recycle the strips and needles and my local council used to collect them but this service has now been stopped. My GP surgery has accepted them and gave me a new box but not sure whether this is a standard procedure. Initially the receptionist suggested I ask the chemist to take them but they refused. Does anyone else have this issue now or perhaps it is just localised to our council.

    Keep throwing the pens in the rubbish but it occurred to me I may be able to recycle.
     
  4. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    You should NEVER put used Insulin/Byetta/Victoza Pens in household rubbish.

    They should be disposed of in a Sharps Bin as it is all classed as Clinical Waste, all of which is incinerated, not re-cycled. Your local Council should have procedures in place for the safe disposal, it can vary from area to area and you may be charged for the service. If you have difficulty in safely disposing of the Sharps bin which is avaialable on prescription then contact your local PCT for advice.

    Information from just one NHS site:

    I put every item as above, including used test strips in my own Sharps Bin. Stops any possible risk of contamination to anybody. My local Council provided the bin and I just phone a number when it needs collecting, I get a replacement when it is collected.

    Ken
     
  5. peecee

    peecee Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Both my Diabetic nurse and doctor and the nurses at the hospital diabetic clinic told me to throw my byetta pen in with the houshold rubbish, the sharps bin i get on prescription is way too small for me to get a pen into it as its one of those small 1ltr bins, perhaps i'll just put the empty pen out with the sharps next time they collect.
     
  6. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Peecee.
    Whatever anybody told you.....it IS Clinical Waste and should not be disposed of in household rubbish. I can believe what you were told, but that doesn't make it right. This is not my answer this is from the NHS websites, you will also find the same answer on any local council's Clinical Waste Service information. I have a Sharps Box which will accomodate a pen, (Byetta) maybe you should ask for a larger one to take all the equipment you are using.

    Think what could happen if a child found a used pen with Insulin in and the possible consequences. That is why that type of product is deemed unsafe to be put in household rubbish.

    Ken
     
  7. ebony321

    ebony321 · Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear,

    i also put my insulin pens in household rubbish as that's what i was told to!?!

    I couldn't fit the pen into my sharps bin if i used a hammer :lol: i have to push my needles through the plastic as it is!!

    i drop my sharps bin at the reception in my GP surgery..

    I didn't think about what would happen is someone were to find it.. I only throw them away when completely empty and i thought the plastic was so tough you couldnt break it with bare hands?

    If i got a bigger sharps bin i wouldnt know where to put it (if it's like the size at the hospital) and i think it may fill up pretty quick!!
     
  8. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
    Retired Moderator

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    Think I am getting stupid in my old age Polly, I thought you were asking do we use them for other purposes around the home! :lol:

    Nigel
     
  9. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    I asked for and got a larger Sharps Bin because my Pen wouldn't fit in. It is a 4 ltr bin and it sits in my kitchen in a space 6" x 6". As for the fact that anybody was told they could put it in household rubbish........that is a matter for the people who state that and those who use the Pen's.

    I am no strongman and can break a pen if I wished.......they are not totally empty and if opened by a child then as stated I dread to think of the consequences........sometimes the unthinkable does happen. I for one would be mortified if such a thing were ever to happen, knowing it was MY responsibilty for the safe disposal. The disposal of Clinical Waste is subject to regulations.

    This very matter was discussed in a thread here in 2009 extensively. The same information was given then and hasn't changed.

    Ken
     
  10. pollyr

    pollyr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ken, for clarifying this for me. I have not put the pens in the sharps box cos it is too small but I always emptied the pens completely and removed the needle before putting in the rubbish as, like you, I would not want to harm anyone. I will use a bigger box now if I can get one as my local council will not collect or replace the bins. I will check with my diabetic nurse when he next visits, what the procedure for our area is as I have been chasing around trying to get someone to collect/deliver them. Perhaps I too will need a prescription for another box.

    ---
    [quote ]Think I am getting stupid in my old age Polly, I thought you were asking do we use them for other purposes around the home!
    Nigel[/quote]----
    Hi Nigel, your post was funny but as I do tend to recycle all packaging, string, boxes, etc (got a shed full of them) if I could think of a use at home for them I would.

    Cheers Polly
     
  11. humph

    humph · Well-Known Member

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    I could follow the example of my local District Nurses.

    For the last 5 years they have been out regularly to treat my Mum and every piece of clinical waste has gone straight in the household bin as they have left.
     
  12. Albert

    Albert · Well-Known Member

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    It just goes to show that some so called 'professional's aren't quite so 'professional as they make out !

    Albert
     
  13. jopar

    jopar · Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard of insulin pen's going into clinical waste before... I've only ever used refillable pens not the disposable one though.. The couple I've had break gone into the bin..

    Ken is that information you posted, dealing with clinical waste at with in the NHS i.e hospital doctors surgery etc or does it say those at Home!

    As if you noticed that test strips aren't included in this list, as they are considered to be clinical waste due to not enough blood on them or are they sharp so can't cause a finger stick injury such as the lancet can!

    Legisation concering what is considered to be clinical waste and what isn't differs to whether it's based in an establishment or private drewelling...

    Example, hospitals, nursing homes, childrens nuseries, even pubs, shops etc providing toilets, will under legisation/regulation treat something like a solid baby nappy, solid incontience pad, used sanitary towel etc as clinical wasted and legisations/regulations have to be followed on disposal..

    But within a private drewlling, all those items can be throwen within normal household rubbish...

    So considering that if test strips do not contain enough blood or risk of finger stick injury, then a disposeable pen is likely to be the same in the home enviorment, as if no needle attached, and not likely to have blood or bloody fluid to be concerned about and the likely hood of somebody becoming actually in contact etc.. Then disposing in normal household shouldn't pose a problem...

    It a bit like my infusions sets for my insulin pump, I cut off the connector as a possible finger prick danger, this goes in the sharps bin the tubing goes in the household rubbish! No mention of this on your list, so do I assume then that I can stick the whole lot in the rubbish bin (even though I been advised otherwise)

    Concerning test strips, check your insert leaflet, it says not considered as clinical waste with explination..
     
  14. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Jo.
    Clinical Waste is defined under the Waste Regulations governing the disposal of household waste which might be items under the definition. They are classified as Group B Clinical Waste and need special care when disposed of. What I posted is how it should be done in the home from an NHS website. The Health and Safety Commision guidelines also state this is how they should be disposed of. Not my own rules, official ones. Perhaps they are all wrong ??

    Whether you have heard of it or not is a matter for you. The information about Waste Regulations is not my personal information it is from an official site advising Patients and Householders what go in the Sharps Bin. You can check with your own particular Council as to which items they consider Clinical Waste as some of them have a slightly different view. My own Council is as above. I was given a leaflet as well with my Sharp's Bin clearly outlining the items as posted earlier.

    Maybe you should check out the information on Diabetes UK's website. It is pretty much the same as what I posted. 100's of others from local councils all over the UK. Some council's interpret the Regs one way, others another. The ultimate arbiter is the Govt Regs......not the Council's. That is why some Council's end up being prosecuted for not doing it right.

    As we appear to be being pedantic here......I did say I put my used test strips in......my own choice.

    You don't want to do that....your choice. I wouldn't dream of leaving anything containing drugs around where it could be tampered with by children........still, each to their own.

    Ken
     
  15. pollyr

    pollyr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi
    My GP surgery have provided a small bin (1 ltr) for the sharps waste and have put it on my repeat prescription now, presumably I will take it to the surgery when it is full.
    Thanks
    Polly
     
  16. jopar

    jopar · Well-Known Member

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    I’m fully aware of the different categories that affect all our waste and how each should be disposed off, down to what coloured bag they should be in for the different types. At one time major part of my job working for the Public Health laboratory Service, dealing with human samples that could be contaminated with some iffy stuff, and chewing your pencil was a sack able offense written into your contract!

    The likely hood coming to harm if thrown a disposable pen in with normal household rubbish, would be lower than that of a child obtaining the pen out of the actual sharps bin, it is surprisingly easy to do until the bin is secured for disposal... Hence why my sharp bin is kept on top of my fridge/freezer out of the way!

    As to disposal practices, when I first became diabetic, you put all your sharps into can (I used a drinks can with small opening) when full tape it up with packing tape, into my dustbin, and I had small children to consider but never had a problem as well they weren’t in the habit of ferreting through bins, so did my husband, my friend husband etc all have toddler etc to consider...

    But if the concerns is that they would get hold of some insulin still contained in the pen, then if the needle isn’t on the pen this would be very extremely difficult so very unlikely, if so then those who use the re-usable pens, would have to put there finished insulin cartridge into the sharp box! After all it still contains small amount of insulin... but nobody batters an eye lid about throwing an used cartridge into pedal bin, waste basket etc..

    I’ve just asked my husband concerning the disposal procedure for where he works (residential care) so have to follow appropriate clinical waste legislation/regulation procedure, disposable pens are put into normal waste... Sharp bins are for sharps objects, other clinical waste i.e pads, bandages, type of clinical waste are disposed of in clinical waste bin (bag) and he’s IOSH (institute of safety and health) certificated and responsible for ensure safe disposal of clinical waste as part of his duties..


    Pollr

    I would check with your sugery, most don't has it increases the cost of disposal of their clinical waste... Contact your local council, they will either provide a collection service or they will let you where to go or who to contact..
     
  17. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Good..........watching a film. I am HazChem qualified, so what. If you don't like it take it up with the Councils and or the Govt.
     
  18. pollyr

    pollyr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jopar, I did call the council first as they gave me the first (very large bin) some time ago, when I was only using lancets for blood testing. Since I am now on insulin I need a bin more often. Since that time, apparently, the council do not now collect or re-issue the bins and referred me to my GP surgery, they didnt at first want to take it and asked me to go to the chemist which I did. The Chemist didnt take them and referred me back to my GP surgery who then agreed to accept the bin and get me a new one. The item has now been added to my repeat prescription. My specialist diabetic nurse will visit me soon and I will ask him for his version.

    Thanks everyone for your responses and help, its much appreciated.

    Pollyr
     
  19. copepod

    copepod Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Some insulins are available as prefilled pens only, but I prefer Humalin I, because it comes in cartridges for use in resusable pens - much less waste for me, NHS and environment to deal with.
     
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