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Finding An FDA-Cleared Sharps Container

Want to know what an approved sharps container is? We have all of the information you need! According to section: Safety Using Sharps (Needles and Syringes) At Home, At Work and On Travel – on the FDA’s website, FDA-Cleared Sharps Containers have specific guidelines that must be followed. See below statement straight from the source!:


The FDA recommends that used needles and other sharps be immediately placed in FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers. FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are generally available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online.

The FDA has evaluated the safety and effectiveness of these containers and has cleared them for use by health care professionals and the public to help reduce the risk of injury and infections from sharps.

FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are made from rigid plastic and come marked with a line that indicates when the container should be considered full, which means it’s time to dispose of the container. Below are examples of FDA-cleared sharps containers:

Image of various sharps containers


FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers are available in a variety of sizes, including smaller travel sizes to use while away from home.

Image of portable sharps containers

A list of products and companies with FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers can be found here. Although the products on this list have received FDA clearance, all products may not be currently available on the market.


Alternative Sharps Disposal Containers

If an FDA-cleared container is not available, some organizations and community guidelines recommend using a heavy-duty plastic household container as an alternative. The container should be leak-resistant, remain upright during use and have a tight fitting, puncture-resistant lid, such as a plastic laundry detergent container.

Alternative Sharps Disposal Containters

Household containers should also have the basic features of a good sharps disposal container described below.

All sharps disposal containers should be:

  • made of a heavy-duty plastic;
  • able to close with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid, without sharps being able to come out;
  • upright and stable during use;
  • leak-resistant; and
  • properly labeled to warn of hazardous waste inside the container.

When your sharps disposal container is about three-quarters (3/4) full, follow your community guidelines for proper disposal methods.


Please note, all above information (text and images) are courtesy of the FDA website – To go there directly, please click here. Should you have any questions, please contact the FDA. 

Sharps Container Guidelines​


Containers should be puncture-resistant, durable during installation and transport, and an appropriate size and shape. The closure should be secure and minimize exposure during closure.


Containers should be upright and easy to operate while preventing the contents from spilling. The container should be placed in a visible location, within easy horizontal reach, and below eye level. The container should also be placed away from any obstructed areas, such as near doors, under sinks, near light switches, etc.


Containers should be clearly visible to the health care worker. The container should be designed so that workers may be able to easily determine the container’s fill status and distinguish any warning labels.


Containers should facilitate ease of storage and assembly, require minimal worker training requirements, be easy to operate, and have a flexible design. A container should also easily accommodate one-handed disposal of a sharps device. Product design should minimize sharp surfaces and cross-infection hazards. Installation and mounting systems should be safe, durable, stable, and cleanable.

According to the CDC, there are specific guidelines that must be followed when searching for a sharps container to dispose of your medical waste in. Note that this information is courtesy of the CDC website. For more information, please visit the website directly by clicking here.

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