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Sharps FAQ

Daniels' patented Sharpsmart system has a number of unique aspects that set it apart from other sharps container systems, regardless of whether those systems use disposable or reusable containers.

The following are five of the most common questions that we are asked about the Sharpsmart system:

Q. What should I be disposing to the Daniels Sharpsmart containers?

Daniels Sharpsmart containers should ONLY be used to collect sharps waste.

Sharps waste includes:

  • Syringes with needles attached (No attempt should be taken to remove the needle from the barrel of the syringe)
  • All needles, used or unused (i.e. hypodermic, HPLC, GC, etc.)
  • Scalpels and razors contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Blood vials
  • Glass or Plastic micropipette tips , Pasteur pipettes , "bulb" pipettes and serological pipettes contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Glass slides, cover slips, broken glass tubes and other laboratory glassware contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Broken plasticware contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Other sharp objects capable of puncturing or piercing the skin that has been contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1

Q. What should I NOT be disposing to the Daniels Sharpsmart containers?

Daniels Sharpsmart containers should ONLY be used to collect sharps waste (please see a description of sharps waste above.)

Regulated Medical Waste that does not include sharps waste must be disposed of to the Red Biohazard Bag/Box. ( View the Sharps and Regulated Medical Waste Segregation Guide)

Regulated Medical Waste includes:

  • Plastic and unbroken glass Petri dishes contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Plastic tubes, syringes (no needle attached ), flasks, plates contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Gloves, bench paper and towels, disposable gowns contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Plastic micropipette tips and pipettes 2 contaminated with infectious/biohazardous material 1
  • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals that cannot be treated with disinfectants and rendered safe for drain disposal
  • Human pathological wastes
  • Human blood and blood products, items saturated with human blood

¹ Infectious agents, biological toxins, human blood and body fluids, infected animals and contaminated bedding, all human and animal cell cultures, any substance, material or agent that poses a significant risk of transmitting infection and/or endangering human health.

² NOTE: non-infectious plastic micropipette tips and pipettes (Pasteur pipettes, "bulb" pipettes and serological pipettes) may be disposed of to the regular trash (suggested to first place in a sturdy outer box/container prior to being disposed of to the trash to protect against injury); however, sharps containers or RMW boxes may be used if they provide a more viable option for your particular lab space (contact EH&S for more information at (631) 632-6410)

Q. Can we be sure that Sharpsmart collectors are completely decontaminated (including prions) and there is no risk of cross infection between institutions?

Several decades of commercial use, along with Guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control* confirm the innocuousness of sharps containers in disease transmission risk.

Similarly, the unlikely presence of prions in a sharps collector is of no risk to students, faculty or staff. However, Sharpsmart procedures assume pathogens are present and the wash process has undergone stringent testing and validation by independent microbiologists and/or government health agencies in six countries. Furthermore, validation procedures show the Washsmart process removes all protein.

Sharpsmarts and associated reusable sharps collectors have been used for over 15 years in more than 500 hospitals/learning centers worldwide, without a single suggestion of cross-infection.

*   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities.   Recommendations of CDC and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), 2003. U.S. Dept HHS, (CDC) Atlanta, GA.

Q. How safe is the Sharpsmart system from people being able to put their hands in the container and pull out sharps?

An international study has proven Sharpsmart to be a safer containment system with no reported incidents of hand-entry and retrieval of sharps and not a single reported injury due to container penetration.

Sharpsmart containers are designed to be open at all times until closed for disposal. The patented counter-balanced tray together with adherence to recommended mounting heights ensure sharps are not accessible once discarded.

Q. Why are Sharpsmart containers not enclosed with a wall cabinet?

Sharpsmart containers were specifically designed to be cabinet-free so as to minimize wall space and maximize container volume. With the largest safety aperture of any sharps container, one-handed disposal of sharps is easy and there is no secondary cabinet that misdirected sharps can fall into. Daniels' Human Factor Analysis studies ensured a product design that is based on clinical staff needs and behavior.

Unlike point-first, vertical-drop sharps containers, Sharpsmart's counterbalanced tray prevents overfilling, inhibits entry of small hands and inhibits sharps removal. The unique, patented counterbalanced tray was engineered with low-weight sensitivity enabling a 0.5ml insulin syringe to be deposited automatically. The large safety aperture virtually eliminates deposit injuries, which is the most common cause of container-associated injuries among sharps containers with narrow apertures.

Sharps Waste Collection

Stony Brook University has chosen to use a specialty sharps container in the buildings on campus where the largest volumes of sharps waste is produced. Since 2018, Daniels sharps containers are 100% self-serve. Please swap out your full sharps containers with an empty sharps container at the following locations:

  • Life Science Complex hallway connecting LSB and CMM
  • Health Science Center at the BST freight elevator entrance

About the Sharps Container

These containers are provided to Stony Brook University through Daniels Sharpsmart. Daniels was one of the first companies in the world to supply reusable sharps containers and its Sharpsmart system is now the world's most widely used reusable system. The Sharpsmart system was launched in 1999 and is now used in thousands of healthcare and educational/research facilities in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

It is the most widely researched sharps containment system internationally, the only system to have peer-reviewed confirmation of sharps injury reduction in international clinical journals and the only system in which all container models meet the tests required by the European Agreement (AFG) on Transport of Dangerous Goods.

Reusable Sharpsmart containers for sharps waste are the key element of Daniels' service and by reusing containers instead of throwing them out, a significant reduction to overall waste volumes can be made.

In general terms, the use of reusable sharps containers is likely to reduce the volume of plastic in sharps waste by over 25% when compared with disposable sharps container systems and studies conducted with the Sharpsmart system confirm this.

But a complete life cycle assessment of reusable and disposable sharps containers reveals that the overall 'carbon footprint' of a Sharpsmart reusable container can be up to 76% less than that of disposable containers.

Sharps Safety

Needles, syringes and other "sharps" (scalpels, razor blades, slides and cover slips, microtome blades) are used in many labs. They are used with biological, chemical and radiological hazardous materials. It is important to use good lab work practices when handling this equipment and to dispose of them properly.

Do not recap needles. If recapping is required for the procedure being done, use a mechanical device such as tongs or forceps, a recapping device or one-hand scoop method to recap needle. Never recap needles using one hand to hold the cap and the other to hold the needle! Do not recap needles prior to disposal. They must be disposed of directly into an appropriate sharps container.

How can you protect yourself from sharps injuries?

  • Avoid the use of needles if safe and effective alternatives are available.
  • Select, evaluate and use devices with safety features that reduce the risk of needlestick injury.
  • Do not recap needles.
  • Plan for safe handling and disposal of needles before using them.
  • Locate sharps containers as close as possible to the area where they are used.
  • Promptly dispose of used sharps in appropriate sharps disposal container.
  • Put uncapped needles in rigid tray or insert needle into cork ring or styrofoam block if reusing the device during procedure.
  • Report all needlestick and sharps-related injuries  promptly to ensure that you receive appropriate follow-up care.
  • Substitute plasticware for glass whenever possible.
  • Follow safety guidelines for all sharps hazards (razor blades, scalpels, slides, microtome blades).
  • Participate in  training.

Always dispose of needles and other regulated sharps in a rigid, puncture resistant container immediately after use. Additional information on proper disposal and definitions of a "regulated sharp" can be found on the  Sharps Waste page.

Non-regulated sharps (not contaminated with infectious material; excludes needles/syringes) and broken glassware must be handled safely and disposed of in containers that will prevent injuries to anyone else handling the container. Heavy duty plastic containers or cardboard boxes labeled "sharp" or "broken glass" and securely taped closed are acceptable.

Radioactive Sharps must be disposed of in Radioactive labeled sharps container. All isotopes can be mixed in the sharps container. It is not required to segregate needles by isotope. Call RPS for pick-up. (2-9680). Wipe test results of the exterior of the container must be less than 200dpm/100cm2.

Sharps Safety Handout