According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated around four and a half pounds of garbage per day in 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available. That’s a whopping 1,600 pounds per person, per year. The good news? Efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle have made a big dent in all that waste—about a third of the four and a half pounds is recycled or composted, significantly lessening the impact on the planet. So, in the spirit of continuing those efforts, here are some tips for people with diabetes to best dispose of, and, if possible, recycle, their diabetes-related items:
- Meter it out. If you have old glucose meters, contact a local diabetes group or your diabetes educator to ask if they accept meter donations. Some will use them for teaching purposes in classes and support groups.
- Be sharps-wise. According to Diabetes Forecast, a magazine that focuses on living well with diabetes, an empty laundry detergent bottle with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant screw-on lid can make an excellent and safe sharps disposal container. The container should be leak-resistant and remain upright and stable during use. When you are ready to dispose of your plastic laundry bottle, two thirds full of sharps, label it clearly with, “Sharps Biohazard. Do Not Recycle”; securely close the container, tape the lid shut, and dispose of is as directed by your local regulations.
- Consider donating. Perhaps you’ve had a change in your insulin prescription, and you have bottles of unexpired, unopened insulin on hand. If that's the case for you, a good idea is to contact Insulin for Life, a nonprofit that collects and distributes insulin and other unused diabetic supplies, to learn how you may be able to help someone in need.
Source: Diabetes Life