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Spring Cleaning with Diabetes Supplies

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  3/28/2013 12:14 PM


Like me, you probably have a diabetes supply drawer (unofficially) labeled with “I have no idea what to do with these.” We recently asked a question to our Facebook community that read, “Spring is almost here! Are you planning to do some spring cleaning with your diabetes supplies?” and it sounded like the community had some of the same questions I had about best practices for disposing of these supplies. So what are you supposed to do with different diabetes supplies? 

When it comes to spring cleaning with diabetes supplies there are a few key things to keep in mind.

• Recycling: Keep an eye on the symbols that appear on packages as these may provide guidance on whether or not you can recycle something. If there is a recycling symbol found on the package you should be able to recycle it. You may not have realized that there are many diabetes products that you can recycle such as test strip or infusion set boxes, infusion set cartons, protective plastic needles caps, and paper instructions for use, just to name a few. Check out this website to find a recycling center and local guidelines in your area.

• Disposing of Needles: Most importantly, and possibly most common for people with diabetes, you need to be aware of how to properly dispose of needles. Needles should always be disposed of in a sharps container or container that can’t be easily punctured like a sealed milk carton or laundry detergent bottle (although this might not be allowed where you live, so make sure to confirm what's allowed in your area first). To learn about your local regulations on throwing away needles, check out this website

• Disposing of Electronic Waste: Electronic waste can range from an out of warranty MiniLink® transmitter to a blood glucose meter that you don’t use anymore. As a rule of thumb, most electronics should be placed in an electronic waste bin which can be found at an e-waste center.

• Disposing of Expired Products: One downside to having full drawers with excess supplies is not being aware of expiration dates. Before you use something, take a quick glance at the box to make sure it is within the labeled timeframe for use. On Medtronic boxes, look for the hourglass symbol for the expiration date. If the product is expired, dispose of it based on your local regulations.

• Donating: Insulin pump supplies and other diabetes supplies like insulin are prescription products. Although it would be nice to be able to share or give away any unused supplies you might have, remember that a valid prescription is needed from a healthcare professional for someone to be able to use these. There are some charitable organizations that can help navigate through this process, one of which is the Charles Ray Foundation

Remember that whether you can recycle, throw away, or donate your diabetes management products can vary from one place to another so make sure to do your own research on this topic because it can vary a lot! Don’t know where to start? One of the best resources I recommend is the staff at your local doctor’s office or pharmacy as they might be able to point you in the right direction. 

I hope my tips helped give you some direction so that you can spring clean your diabetes drawers. Speaking of spring cleaning, now it’s my turn! Have any tips to share from your research on this topic? Let me know by leaving a comment!


K. Van Pelt

Posted on Fri Mar 29 04:07:36 GMT 2013

How do I properly dispose of pump supplies such as used infusion sets and reservoirs?


Posted on Fri Mar 29 18:26:42 GMT 2013

Great question, K! All prescription products like infusion sets and reservoirs should be disposed of as medical waste. Check with your local pharmacy or provider’s office for more information specific to the area you live.


Posted on Thu Apr 03 18:11:28 GMT 2014

How do I remove the needle from the Mio infusion set? I always get stabbed!!


Posted on Thu Apr 03 22:05:35 GMT 2014

Hi Karen, I’m sorry to hear that. You may find this video on inserting the MiniMed Mio Infusion Set helpful - If you’d like, I can also have someone from my team reach out to help and make sure all of your questions are answered.

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