Throwing Away Needles

It is important to dispose of used syringes and needles safely.

The risk of infection (HIV / AIDS, hepatitis B or hepatitis C) by an accidental needle stick is low. It is still important to dispose of used syringes and needles safely.

What is the SIRSAU?

Established in 2006 by the Ministry of Health and Social Services of Quebec, the système intégré de récupération des seringues et des aiguilles usagées  (SIRSAU) offers free yellow containers to people, including people with diabetes, using syringes, needles or lancets, at home, as part of a treatment.

Where to get a “sharps” container?

For people with diabetes, 1.4 L containers are available in some pharmacies, outpatient clinics and diabetes education centers. The 5L containers are no longer available through the SIRSAU program. However, it is possible to buy them in some pharmacies. Public or private care homes must provide, at their expense, containers to their residents.

Where to dispose of the containers when full?

CLSCs and pharmacies that have joined the program SIRSAU can take back the yellow containers when full.

Is the container safe?

The container corresponds to Canadian standards. It allows the storage and safe transport of sharps like lancets or needles. The new model has a temporary closure (gently press the cover – one click) and a permanent closure (press firmly on the lid – two clicks). These instructions are engraved in French and English on the container. Once a sharps object is placed inside, the temporary closure must always be on to prevent accidents.

Where should the container be kept?

The container must be kept out of children’s reach, as is the case for medication.

What to put in the container?

The yellow container is used only for sharps. It is therefore recommended for people with diabetes to place only lancets and needles (without the injection device) in the container.

What to avoid putting in the container?

The syringe or insulin pen, the cartridge of insulin or the insulin pump infusion set, test strips and alcohol swabs can be thrown away with household waste because they are not sharp objects.

Source: Ministry of Health and Social Services

December 2015