A sharp one


You can find the complete archives of Ask Renee questions and answers through Feb. 29, 2016, by clicking here for indianalivinggreen.com.

I use insulin & other diabetes medication in pens with needle tips. Instructions with the pens say to dispose of the pens & needles in FDA approved containers according to my State regulations.

I asked the pharmacist & she said to put the pens & needles in an empty laundry detergent bottle, tape the top shut, label "Do not recycle" & put in the regular trash.

Do you know of a better solution?




I’ll get straight to the point. Sharps disposal by home self-injectors is not regulated in Indiana, which means, in theory, your pharmacist is correct. However, in an effort to help create a safe environment for the hardworking people who sort our trash and recycling, I encourage you to use an approved container and dispose of your needles and sharps with a collection program.

According to the IN.gov Household Needles and Sharps page, “People exposed to sharps face not only the risk of a painful stick, but also the risk of contracting a life-altering disease such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B or C.” You may know that your needles won’t cause such an illness, but imagine being the person on the other end and not knowing. You should do your part to create a safe working environment and peace of mind for the people who do our dirty work.

The web site includes a list of Sharps Collection Programs in Indiana. All March stores with pharmacies hold annual Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet events when they will accept non-control, non-hazardous medications and sharps containers. The next one is April 29 – May 2.

If collecting your needles takes up too much space in your house, check out this Insulin Syringe Needle Clipper. It can hold more than 1,000 needle tips which is twice as many as the typical red box.

Piece out,



Renee Sweany is NUVO's green living advice blogger.