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Because You Asked

Because You Asked: Can I Recycle Diabetes Blood-Testing Kits?

By Recyclebank |

Some portions of your diabetes blood-testing kits are recyclable, but be mindful of medical waste — you must dispose of it properly.  


Dear Recyclebank: I’m a diabetic and am wondering: Can I recycle any or all of the components of my blood-testing kit? –Michel


Dear Michel: We appreciate your desire to try to recycle all the materials you can. However, the nature of blood-testing kits prevents much of it from being recycled. The only portions of diabetes blood-testing kits that you can recycle from home are those that never come into contact with blood. Because it is impossible to safely and cost-efficiently determine if a loose syringe has been contaminated by a bloodborne pathogen, you should never attempt to recycle any part of a syringe or lancet (the metal needle, shaft, or plunger) even an unused one.

From home, it is safe for you to recycle the paper box your testing strips come in with your other paper recycling. You can recycle broken or outdated electronic meters at e-waste drop-off centers and during special collections. Excess testing strips themselves can often be sold to third parties as long as they are not expired. In theory, you should be able to recycle the polypropylene caps that shield your syringes wherever bottle caps (which are also made of polypropylene and are approximately the same size) are accepted. As always, be sure to check with your recycling center or waste hauler before you attempt to recycle these caps; you don’t want to waste your time and their resources unnecessarily. As for the syringes and lancets, you should never try to recycle any part of them.

Sharps should never be thrown loosely in the trash or recycling bin, as they could easily prick people or pets at home, as well as sanitation workers who are doing the waste collection and processing. Most areas have laws dictating how to dispose of sharps. In California, for example, it is illegal to dispose of sharps in the trash, even if you place them within a sturdy plastic jug. To find a location to dispose your needles visit Safe Needle Disposal.


SOURCES: CalRecycle, Medpro Disposal, Test Strip Search

Do you wonder about the recyclability of other items you use regularly? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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  • Ruth N. 29 days ago
    podemos reciclar lapices y plumas?
  • Jennifer S. 2 months ago
    In our area it even states that no perscription pill bottles can be put in the recycling bin. The must be wrapped and put in the garbage.
  • VIRGINIA L. 2 months ago
    I have loads of used needles for finger sticking and have no idea where to go with them. We used to take it to a Hospital for recycling but they closed down, now what!
  • CJ P. 2 months ago
    Definitely donate intact, unused, unexpired testing supplies! We found a local low-cost clinic in our area who would accept them.
  • Laura L. 2 months ago
    I'm sure any church or group that helps people would take unused unopened testing strips too, that stuff is so expensive!
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