Sharps Bins - again

Sorry I know alot of you have sharps bins for the s/c thats why I am asking this here !!

For the diabetes stuff we get those piddly little 1ltre boxes which are no use - they fill up so quick its daft !!

But what I wanted to ask is ""Is it possible to buy a bigger box myself ?? And still get it disposed of via my gp surgery ??""

Just I go through 2 boxes a month minimum and its getting daft !!

51 Replies

  • Wheezer

    The sharps bin company do have a site if you look on the side of the bin somewhere it does give the address but I would just ask for a bigger one next time you take full one in. Gp surgerys will use all different sizes so if you ask for next size up or even two 1l ones it should save you a trip in future.

  • They only allowed to prescribe 1ltre ones for diabetics Speedy and its daft !!

  • I have just been scouting around re: this cos my initial reaction was the same as Speedy's - ask for a bigger one! - but I've even delved into the Drug Tariff (possibly the Most Boring Document In The World, Ever) only to find that the only sharps bins prescribeable in the NHS are 1 litre ones.

    Purchase it must be then, Donna, I'm afraid, unless you get a stock at the start of the month and then take em all in at the end.

    *wanders off muttering about the daftness of NHS prescribeables*

  • Sean and I share a 5L one, him for s/c and me diabetes.

    I dont have it perscribed I just asked the asthma nurse for larger one and when it full i take back give to receptionist who replaces it with another 5L.

    We also have 2 x 1L ones for when we away from home.

  • Have had this problem as well Donna since starting on s/c. I have resorted to buying my own, my GPs surgery are quite happy to dispose of them :)

    I get mine from Medisave, they are very prompt with delivery and I find that the 4 bins last me about 3 months, so the cost is not too bad.

    hope this helps.


  • Hi Wheezer

    I care for a diabetic girl and they use a 4L milk container. Do you have those big jugs in the UK? It works well, but it's not a specified sharps container, and I have no idea about what the rules are re disposing of them. Anyway, just a though, probably not much help.


  • Good idea! I am almost tempted to try it out just to watch the stroppy receptionists face when i drop it off for disposal :-) lol

  • Brynne - yes, we get milk from supermarkets in those, and it's an excellent idea.

    If - when our sub-cut using friend comes to visit - we find Cathy's sharps bin to be full, we have been known to use an empty wine bottle! Probaby not recommended ;)

  • Thanks for the link Rusty !!

    These piddly little things are useless, worse than useless to me as go through to many insulin cartridges and needles etc etc a day !!

    I did ask the gp if could have a couple of bins a month but nope 1x 1ltre was it !!

    I will buy some - I don't mind I just wasnt sure if the GP's would dispose of them the same ??

    It stupid with these 1 ltre ones also as if you use the disposeable pens they DONT fit it with out u forcing them and then u frequently injure yourself on them !!

    We get our milk int 4x 1 ltr in this house a week as neither of us can lift a 2ltr one up but thats a GOOD idea for when they fill up earlier and earlier !!

  • I also could only get prescribed the piddly 1 ltr ones which you can't get a 20ml syringe into! I do get them for when away etc.

    But, I have managed to get 5lt ones from my medical equipment suppliers - the people who supply all my needles, sillouettes etc.

    Also, have at one stage used Washing detergent (Washing conditioner) bottles as they have wide necks and you can get quite abit in them, though I only used to put the syringes in there and the sharpy bits & ampules in the 1ltr.

    did hand over a bag of syringes once to the surgery as had no bottles - they were a bit funny but I said that they only had ventolin in them and they should not technically be a biohazzard! ( they have HUGE sharps bins there)


  • Just a quick comment - I wouldn't recommend using the plastic milk containers we get in this country for sharps disposal, as I feel they're probably not strong enough for the purpose (hence with wine bottle trick...well, that's my excuse anyway...;-))

  • Just a quick comment - I wouldn't recommend using the plastic milk containers we get in this country for sharps disposal, as I feel they're probably not strong enough for the purpose (hence with wine bottle trick...well, that's my excuse anyway...;-))

  • Wheezer have you thought bout asking district nurse as local health centre will get lge bins therefore can't they just let you have one and swap it when full?

  • katherine, I asked District Nurses about getting larger sharps bins from them but they told me that I should get them from GP. When I asked GP they said it was District Nurses. LOL - I decided it was easier to buy them myself as I couldn't be bothered with more arguing - had enough of that getting my soft sets (that is a whole nother post)


  • Donna, as you can imagine with a sub cut and 4 xs daily insulin i get through quite a few piddly 1litre ones!! so went see GP last week and she prescribed 2.5litre ones, but pharmacy said prob with manufacters? anyway longshot was at your GPs discretion they can give you one of their supply, which is what mine did, i now have a 5litre one? so amybe worth discussing with GP, if not various sites self them.

    Andrea xxx

    PS syringes dont need to go in they can go in household waste its only the sharp needles and vials etc that need go in.

  • Flora tubs can also work well when you are away from home. I was given 2 7l ones at clinic 5 weeks ago and I have just about filled one of them.

  • For once Devon are streets ahead of everyone else. I have a 4.5 litre bin when it gets full I call the local council who come a long and swap it for a new one on wednesday. All I have to do is remember to call to order the new one before 5 on a tuesday fabulous service. I have one bin in use a spare in case I forget to call on by 5 on a tuesday and as small 1 litre one for in the car!


  • Andrea - I checked with my local council when I started on s/c and found that Cambs Council do NOT allow syringes to be put into general waste. It seems that each area has it own rules -whats new there.


  • In our area anything contaminated by blood or a drug has to go into a suitable sharps container according to the info I was given when put on the insulin but with my insulin use going higher and higher and even using cartridges instead of the throw-away pens these stupid boxes fill up within days at times!

    I've only just got my 1ltre box I ordered from repeat script 3 weeks ago due to manufacturing issues and thats the only time the GP surgery would give me one there little ones!

    I am at my GP thurs next week for my hba1c blood test as only GP gets my blood so will sweet talk her for a larger one - if it lasts longer and costs them less than those 1ltre ones it will count in my favour but I won't count on it!

    Does anyone know if I could buy them direct from a Lloyds Pharmacy at all ??

  • Sharps bins"" - swear words. Why does it have to be so complicated? And why's it different depending on where you live? Mad, mad, mad, stress, stress, stress. I've had a complete nightmare too. Thanks for the link Rusty. I'd been looking at them on medisave, but I didn't know which were the 5 litre ones ( > needles & syringes > sharps bins). I've blagged another one from my GP, and they're letting me know they won't do it regularly & they're doing me a ""special favour"". It doesn't feel like it, when I've got a carrier bag full of syringes, an overstuffed sharps bin and rising stress levels. No one seems to want to take responsibility. The district nurse has said the GPs have to prescribe them, so that's what I will do next time, or I'll at least buy myself some new ones on medisave. Question is, what do I with the full ones I've bought myself & can't shift? Under the patio??

  • sharps cutters??

    I was diagnosed insulin dependant about 11 years ago now and when I left hospital with my new kit (syringes, insulin, test strips, hypo-gel, finger pricker, lancets, etc) I was given a sharps cutter. Anyone heard of these?

    It was like a black device about 3"" long and 1"" wide oval in shape with a tiny needle hole. You put your used needle through the hole and closed the device very much like nail clippers and it cut the needle bit off and kept it very safely inside the body of the thing.

    I think the original idea was to make syringes unusable to anyone other than a 'legalised junkie' which is how my father-in-law used to refer to me.

    I've never seen a sharps cutter since but I wonder if they are still available because this would make life much easier for lots of people by the sound of it.

    I am prescribed two 1 litre boxes. When one gets full I put in a request for another. I'd still prefer the 5 litres though:~/

    Jacqui Mac

  • You can get them on prescription - here is the BNF stuff on them:

    Needle Clipping (Chopping) Device (Drug Tariff)

    Consisting of a clipper to remove needle from its hub and container from which cut-off needles cannot be retrieved; designed to hold 1500 needles, not suitable for use with lancets. Net price = £1.26

    Brands include BD Safe-Clip®

  • Hi,

    The needle cutters are designed I think for chopping the little needles off the orange insulin syringes 0.5 & 1.0 ml jobs. For s/c infusions it is a different set up - needle choppers aren't really much use as we use 10 ml and 20 ml syringes, detachable green needles , the infusion sets, some of which had retractable insertion needles, some have solid in situ needles, the ampoules too! The syringes aren't technically contaminated but in lots of areas we can't just pop them in the black bins! ( the dust collectors would do their nut if the bag split)

    Thanks for the suggestion Jacqimac though.

    It is a crazy system where we can't get the right size bins!

    I wonder if the plastic syringes are recycleable - now, the bin peeps would go mad if I pop them in the clear recycling sacks with all the other plastics! LOL


  • Hi.

    Just thought that I would add that I work for a council and we offer a free collection, and delivery of replacement boxes as often as people require. I also know that there are a variety of sizes....I have had people ringing up with the small travelling ones (1 litre) to the big long term use ones (about 15 inch high bin type thing). I know that there is a variety of sizes in between them. You should see if there is a collection service in your area, by contacting the district council, county coucil, or nhs services, as quite a few areas offer these collections.

  • If you are finding it hard to get rid of them, try your hospital clinic - or even the ward. I get my stuff from the ward, and while they kick up a fuss about some things they don't bother re sharps boxes cos they aren't that expensive. Also some areas (like here) let you put syringes and non-sharp things (like the line without any needle in it) in an orange bag, which keeps the bins for the sharp stuff -- it is cheaper to dispose of that way, although still goes as contaminated waste.

  • Thanks for the disposal advice - much appreciated.

    I like the idea of cheaper waste disposal too. If I ask for an ""orange bag"" for disposing of non-sharp items will people know what I mean, or do I need to use a more ""technical"" term in the medical or council world? I'm not sure I've seen one before.

    Thanks, S.

  • If you ask for an orange (or sometimes yellow) bag folks should know - but they are otherwise known as clinical waste bags I think

  • I am at gps thursday for my hba1c bloodtest with the GP so will see what she says - if I naughty and catch her while shes stabbing me I may get lucky lol

  • Have just had to call chemist to pick a script up and asked about the bin they owe me and they have said the GP can/will prescribed a larger one if asked too - so gonna get it sorted thurs - as the 1ltre boxes are having supply/production issues !!

    Why they make it so hard for us to dispose of stuff properly as they make us do I got no clue !!

    Around my area we have to take them to the GP surgery (registered for disposal of sharps) to get rid of them (happens to be my gps lol) but why it has to be so different everywhere is beyond comprehension !!

  • Been to chemist to pick some diabetes stuff up today and the pharmacist has told me NOT to buy a big bin as 7 litre ones can be and are prescribed in our area !!

    THANKS everyone for advice but gonna get GP to script the bigger ones as I dont need piddly little ones to carry !!

    I dont go anywhere to take one with me lol !!

  • Cathy posted below that the largest size sharps bin a GP can prescribe is the 1 litre bin; and she should know, being a GP!

    Can someone who regularly uses a larger bin let us know how they get theirs, please. No matter how nicely you ask, your GP won't be able to prescribe a larger one, as they can only prescribe items in the Drug Tariff.

  • The larger ones are supplied by GPs out of there own stock for me?

    Andrea xxx

  • Steve, mine come from the local council who have now given me an email address I just need to fire off an email when I think to myself need a new bin and they will bring a new one and collect the old one even better. Is it worth those who are having trouble checking with their district council or unitary authority.


  • According to my pharmacist they give them out regularly on prescription here hence why he wouldnt let me buy one today - we have to dispose of them at a registered GPs practice (happens to be mine) but thats it - each areas disposal is different that I know for sure !!

    The fact is the 1ltre ones are having supply/productions issues and they have to provide a safe way of disposal and given they wont take any NON-sharps box containers (checked today) in this area for some reason then they have to provide a sharps box of some size !!

  • I'm not quite sure how many times this needs to be written, but nonetheless I will try again:

    A sharps box larger than 1 litre cannot be prescribed because it's not in the Drug Tariff.

    That doesn't mean that the pharmacist can't supply one (or indeed the surgery from their own supply, or the local council - thanks Andrea and Bex!), but it *does* mean that you can't get a script for one. Maybe the pharmacist usually supplies them on a private prescription? Cathy, is this possible?

  • Possibly - would probably be considerably cheaper than an NHS script too, going by the price of a 1l box (85p!).

  • Wheezer when in hole stop digging. Clearly your pharamcist can get them but clearly not on ordinary NHS script according to the resident GP here who should - I hope :) - know. As the policemen said to the poilitician on his soap box ""I think we get your opinion now just move on please"".


  • Kindly GP may also supply out of own stock? We have large sharps bins in surgery and if there are supply probs with 1l boxes I could certainly envisage a loan being forthcoming.

  • Bex - wind your neck in will ya !!

    You are out of order AGAIN !!

    I've had it with the attitudes breeding on this forum lately !!

    It is meant to be for support and NOT bullying members !!

    NONE of you were at the pharmacy when I spoke to the pharmacist - he has told me what happens in MY AREA !!

    None of you live here do you !!

    And for the countless time our COUNCIL does not have anything to do with sharps bins in our area !!

    Bins are provided by our GPs and disposed ov via a registered sharps disposal GP's surgery (mine) !!

    If you dont like it tough its how my area works !!

  • For goodness' sake, calm down.

    This is nothing to do with regional policies, the Drug Tarriff is a NATIONAL document which applies to all areas.

    Steve merely proffered up a suggestion of what the pharmacist might mean. There is absolutely no need to shout at us, Donna.

  • Excuse me for sticking my oar in but perhaps this thread ought to be closed before it gets to

    ""Handbags at Dawn

  • Would love to, Meady, but I don't have that option at my disposal (sorry, no pun intended)


  • Hmmm.

    We try to help and look what happens...

    As a general discussion about how to get hold of sharps bins, this thread has been very helpful, I think. It's just a shame that the over-reaction of one member has ruined it for everyone else.

  • Er winding your neck in refers to someone posting on something they have no right or idea about. I do use sharps bins and therefore have every right to post. Maybe I don't live in deepest remote staffordshire but I do think that if a respected GP says something then it is probably right.

    I think you owe Cath an apology you near as damn it called her a lier and I think that is bang out of order.


  • I don't *want* to file this thread under ""bin"", but unless people stop shouting at each other I'm going to have to - and that would be a shame, as there is some useful information on here.

  • ty Bex

  • In case people were wondering - I have wielded the secateurs and pruned this thread back to the useful information ;-)

  • Steve - I got my big sharps box from outpatients clinic.

  • Excellent, thanks DD!

    So, summary so far:

    Buy them from the pharmacist

    Ask your local council

    Ask at the GP surgery

    Ask at your hospital outpatients department

    Please feel free to point out any I've missed - I haven't been back through the thread so the above is from memory!

  • 5lt bins. Another source

    District nurses can supply them / order them along with all the needles, syringes & giving sets etc via a Medical Equipment service run by the council.

    Or whoever supplies your syringes & sofsets.

    I then take mine to the surgery for disposal

  • Steve, I buy mine from Medisave -pack-of-4-bins-p-1129.html


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