- single use which are disposed of with the waste inside,
- reusable which are robotically emptied and sterilized before being returned for re-use.
It is standard practice in developed and even underdeveloped countries for used needles to be placed immediately into a sharps container after a single use, with only a few exceptions to the general rule. Sharing needles is often the cause of AIDS (HIV) and other blood-borne infections spreading among intravenous drug users.
Needles are dropped into the container without touching the outside of the container. Needles should never be pushed or forced into the container, as damage to the container and/or needle stick injuries may result. In most countries around the world, recapping and de-notching needles is also no longer accepted practice.
Proper use of a sharps container includes pick up by or delivery to an approved “red bag” or medical waste treatment site. In addition to this pre-existing safety measure, all U.S. medical and educational staff are federally required to be tested on their knowledge of blood borne pathogens.