Written by Laura Wakelam
16 Oct 2020

Disposable vs Reusable Sharps Containers

Never purchase a single-use sharps container again!

I know, it sounds wonderful doesn’t it! Sharpsmart's reusable sharps and clinical waste containers eliminate the need to purchase and dispose of single-use sharps containers, delivering not only an immediate cost saving but also showing a lot of love for the environment! 33% of the volume of every sharps container is plastic that can be saved from landfill with a reusable system. Every year hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unnecessary waste from disposable plastic sharps containers and cardboard boxes are going into our landfill – we think we can be better than this.


Reusable sharps containers provide a safe, compliant and cost effective alternative

The benefits of Sharpsmart's reusable sharps systems are extensive not only for the environment but for their impact on healthcare safety and clinical efficiencies:

  • Superior safety engineered design with tamper-proof security locks, overfill prevention mechanism, and protective safety tray eliminating risk of contamination or sharps injury
  • Larger volume containers reduce pickup frequencies and associated sharps disposal costs.
  • You eliminate the cost of purchasing and disposing of plastic sharps containers!
  • No bags, no outer packaging, no assembly. Sharpsmart's system is fitted with a water-tight seal that prevents leakage, and is DOT transport compliant. 
  • Accessories enable the sharps containers to be securely mounted on wall or benchtop or moved on a simple access trolley to patient bedside or point-of-use location for safe sharps disposal
  • Each container is robotically washed through a 6-stage decontamination and sanitisation process, delivering a cleaner result than a brand new container!


What about the environmental impact?

When a reusable container is filled, only the waste inside it is destroyed, lessening the environmental impact of discarded plastic and cardboard being sent to landfill. Sharpsmart containers are hygienically washed through a vigorous robotic washing process which achieves the most significant bacterial load reduction in the industry, and once it undergoes a quality control check, it is returned to the hospital or facility for next use. A 2010 study carried out in a UK hospital documented a carbon emission reduction of 86% with the implementation of our Sharpsmart containers for sharps disposal.


Each year, for every 100 occupied beds, the Sharpsmart reusable sharps container:

  • Reduces plastic waste by 7,000 lbs

  • Reduces cardboard waste by 720 lbs

  • Eliminates the manufacturing and landfilling of 4,691 disposable sharps containers


Whilst the concept of recycling is very “green friendly”, the process is not as simple as it appears and can result in a negative environmental impact due to the extensive process of decontamination, cleaning and energy required to repurpose. A disposable container has twice the negative impact on the environment as they are not only utilising energy for treatment, but also adding to the volume of residual material that ends up in landfills. Furthermore, for every disposable sharps container that is used, another new container must be manufactured as a replacement; a process which requires a completely new allocation of materials and energy resources.


Reusable vs Disposable sharps containers

Whilst environmental impact is a strong deterrence against the use of disposable sharps containers, the stronger draw-card which is why we at Sharpsmart UK have invested millions of dollars in R&D, clinical trials and manufacturing refinement, is safety. The simple truth is that no company can afford to put the depth of technology into a disposable sharps container that exists in the Sharpsmart container, and then throw it away – it would not be able to achieve price competitiveness.


When Sharpsmart emerged into the UK healthcare industry in 2001 there was no reusable sharps container alternative. Needlestick injuries were rife in hospitals around the world, and new revelations about the contraction of HIV and other bloodborne pathogens from used needles were starting fresh conversation about the safety of injections and sharps disposal. The root cause of a significant volume of injuries was container-related, a fact which is now no surprise considering the poor design and flimsy construction of the sharps containers that existed on the market.



Sharps containers designed to put Safety First 

Sharpsmart reusable sharps containers are designed with 13 safety features and stand in market solidarity with multiple peer reviewed studies documenting the dramatic needlestick injury reduction achieved in six countries. A study documented in the American Journal of Infection Control compared 28 hospitals, 14 of which converted to Daniels Sharpsmart containers and 14 of which retained their use of a disposable sharps container for sharps disposal. The results showed that sharps injuries increased in the 14 hospitals using the disposable containers, and in the controlled group that adopted the Sharpsmart system, disposal-related sharps injuries reduced by 57% and container-associated sharps injuries fell by 81%

Sharps, pharmaceutical, cytotoxic and clinicalwaste disposal has never been so simple or so safe with Sharpsmart reusable sharps containers. We are proud of the science, clinical input, and proven impact that our range of clinical waste containers have made in the UK healthcare market and as a company we commit to continuing to innovate forward to make healthcare safer for the people who work in it. To learn more about Sharpsmart's reusable range of sharps containers, click the link below: 



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Laura Wakelam

Laura Wakelam

Chief Marketing Officer

Brand and Communications Curator of Sharpsmart global group of companies, Laura is a strong believer in cause-driven brand identity and honest storytelling