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What is a sharps bin?

A sharps bin is a type of waste container used to temporarily store sharps material in a safe way until it is ready to be transported to an appropriate disposal facility. Sharps material is a form of biomedical waste composed of the used needles, knives, or other sharp tools which puncture human or animal skin. Whilst a sharps bin can be found within households on occasion (for diabetic occupants who need to inject themselves for example), they are typically used by medical, science, or beauty businesses.


It is incredibly important to ensure that your business is safely storing your sharps waste and using the appropriate type of sharps bin. We make sure our customers are completely covered with their sharps needs through our clinical waste management service. Enquire with us today.



What materials do you put into a sharps bin?

The following items can be and should be put into your sharps waste container:

  • Syringes
  • Insulin pens
  • Tattoo needles
  • Hypodermic needles
  • Scalpels
  • Piercing guns/needles
  • Knives
  • Pins
  • Razor blades
  • Staples
  • Contaminated glass
  • Contaminated plastic
Orange coloured syringes



Which types of businesses use sharps bins?

Tens of thousands of UK businesses use sharps bins and typically they are either in the medical, science, or beauty sector. Here’s a quick list of business types who need sharps disposal:

  • Tattoo parlours
  • GP practices
  • Hospitals
  • Chemists
  • Nursing/care homes
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacies
  • Veterinaries
  • Laboratories



What are the different types of sharps bins?

Sharps bins are yellow with colour-coded lids to represent which type of sharps waste they hold. The various coloured lids include orange, yellow, purple, red, and blue. Here’s what each one means:


Orange lidded containers

These bins are used to dispose of non-pharmaceutical sharps waste such as tattoo needles.

orange lid clinical waste bin


Yellow lidded containers

This sharps bin is used to store medical sharps waste such as syringes.

Yellow lid sharps bin


Purple lidded containers

These bins store sharps waste which is contaminated with hazardous cytotoxic and cytostatic waste. Cytotoxic refers to a substance that kills off human cells and cytostatic promotes cell growth. So a needle and drip used for chemotherapy would be a type of sharps waste you could put into these bins.

Purple lid clinical waste container


Red lidded containers

These bins are used to dispose of anatomical waste such as blood bags.

Red lid sharps bin


Blue lidded containers

These bins are not typically used for sharps waste but with the global covid pandemic continuing to persist throughout 2021, they have become far more common since they store PPE waste in addition to expired pharmaceuticals.

Blue lid sharps container



How do you dispose of sharps safely?

The best way you can ensure that your business is disposing of its sharp waste safely can be broken down into two parts, the first being about storing and using your bins correctly, and the second being about using the right waste collector.


So what you’ll need to have in place are the correct coloured sharps waste containers for your business and use them in a safe way by following these guidelines outlined by Gov HSE:

  • Discard immediately after use (don’t leave sharps lying around before proper disposal)
  • Place sharps bins at eye level, within arm’s reach for easy accessibility
  • Keep sharps bins away from children
  • Ensure bins are labelled and assembled correctly and do not overfill!
  • Arrange bin collection once sharps bin is full and store safely in the meantime
  • Make all relevant personnel aware of sharps disposal guidelines
  • Display safe disposal instructions
  • Report, record and investigate incidents of non-compliance or injury


As mentioned previously, you’ll also need to choose a reputable waste management service that can ensure you that your waste is being transported to the correct treatment facility and not just being dumped into landfills. Unfortunately, if you use a waste collector who is this careless, you can still be held responsible since it is your business’ waste. More about choosing the right waste collector later on in this post.



What are the laws and regulations surrounding sharps bin waste?

The following are the two main regulations surrounding sharps waste in the UK:

Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 and 2015. These regulations dictate that appropriate training should be provided to employees so that they know how to dispose of sharps. Furthermore, sharps must be clearly labelled and stored in secure containers.


Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005. These regulations dictate that any waste that could be considered hazardous to others or the environment must be stored securely before collection.



What are the consequences for mismanaging your sharps waste?

Disposing of your sharps waste is not just a general expectation, it’s a legal requirement and the penalties for failing to do so can be fairly severe.


Failing to meet health and safety standards surroundings sharps bin waste can result in fines, prosecution, and business closure. That is why employee training, safety equipment and wear, the correct bins, and appropriate labelling is paramount for UK businesses.

Sharps bin labelling



How to get your business a sharps bin collection service

If you need sharps bins and collection services then you will need a waste management company that can not only provide you with your containers but also pick up and safely dispose of your waste.


At CheaperWaste we service thousands of businesses across the UK with clinical waste collections and sharps bin disposal. We’re determined to help as many businesses as we can with ‘taking the worry out of waste’ so you can focus on what’s important – running your company. When working with us you’ll be supported by an expert team with years of experience in the waste management field and soon your sharps waste worries will be at the back of your mind.


We can collect on a schedule that suits your business needs, whether that be daily, weekly, or fortnightly, and we can also arrange for specific sharps bins to be sent to your business site for your use. Get in touch with our team today, we are happy to help you with any questions you may have and can even provide a free quote!



Sharps bin cost

Prices for sharps bin collections can vary depending on the volume of waste, type of waste, and frequency of collection. But we are confident in providing competitive low costs which is why we are used by over 20,000 businesses across the UK. Get in touch today for a free quote or simply fill out the quick and easy form at the bottom of this page.


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