Spring Cleaning with Diabetes Supplies

Recycling Bin

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!

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