Diabetic Test Strips are small strips of plastic technology that test a person’s blood glucose levels. While they don’t look special, they play a crucial role in a diabetic individual’s life.
Expired diabetic tet stips should be sold, recycled, or disposed of correctly. These diabetes test strips should not be reused or donated because of the risk of ineffectiveness upon expiration. These are the best, and safest ways to get rid of your expired diabetic test strips.
Sometimes there are potentially fatal do’s and don’ts when it comes to expired medical products/ medication and glucose test strips are no exception. While these strips can be life-saving, expired ones can be life-risking.
The issue with keeping these expired test strips is that once they are out of date the product’s performance and accuracy are all a risk. This can be a potentially fatal risk because if the strip provides an incorrect result the patient does not know where their current health stands. It is not recommended by any doctor or customer to keep or reuse expired test strips, in fact, the FDA actually advises against doing this. They advise users against keeping or reusing expired test strips because if a patient gets an inaccurate reading, they use it as a basis for their treatment. For the consumer, this means that they will either take too much medication or not enough, which increases the likelihood of patient injury or even death.
To understand the seriousness of why you shouldn’t still use or even keep these strips, it is vital that you understand how they work. The process behind the strips begins when you poke your finger with the lancet and place a drop of blood on the glucose testing strip. Your blood mixes with the chemical ‘glucose oxidase’ and turns your glucose into electricity, which then conducts a current in the test strip circuit. When the current is transferred, the test strip’s electric terminals measure the glucose levels. Upon expiration, the chemicals in this device begin to deteriorate causing inaccurate readings to be a highly likely occurrence.
There are some states that have programs and websites whose entire business is to offer to buy your expired diabetes supplies, a main reason for this is to reduce waste. These sites can easily be found by googling something along the lines of ‘sell expired diabetic test strips. After reviewing my research and looking at online forums for people with diabetes, it seems that this can be a very useful option.
Often a major factor in people wanting to keep and reuse these expired test strips is that diabetic supplies are not cheap. They don’t want their money to be wasted because the product expired, which is understandable. This option is a positive and safe one because patients are less likely to risk reusing them due to financial issues when they are offered compensation that could be put towards the purchase of new test strips.
From what I was able to find it seems that these test strips can be recycled, it just has a few more requirements than your typical kitchen recycling bin. You can check if your product is able to be recycled by looking for the recycling icon on the packaging. Broken or expired strips can be given to a recycling or medical center. To find where you can recycle these, the bottom source is a tool to help you find recycling facilities near you as well as your local recycling regulations.
While a good amount of diabetes supplies are eligible to be donated to a plethora of organizations, the supplies have to be unopened or unexpired. That being said expired test strips do not qualify to be donated for people to use. However, the link below discusses that they accept these as donations and give them to their Pet Diabetes Program if they have expired less than a year ago. This is because pet diabetes is a really expensive journey that owners often can’t afford, and the test strips work well enough to be able to manage their pet at a much less expensive cost. They also donate expired strips to their art program.
When it comes to disposing of diabetes products, most of the time you can not under any circumstance throw them away in your regular household trash or the outside garbage bin. This precaution is taken because this way of disposal poses a safety concern for all those that might come in contact with it. Through research, I was able to find that this only applies to test strips that are used because they have blood on them which can be considered a health hazard.
One suggestion made was that if you really want to throw them away in your home trashcan what you can do is mix the strips with cat litter or coffee grounds in a sealed ziplock bag before throwing it away. This is because those two things are deemed undesirable, which protects your pets or children from trying to consume them. Another suggestion made was to place the remaining expired strips into a sealable container and mix it with water or rubbing alcohol to sanitize them.
The key takeaway from both of these ideas is the inclusion of mixing the expired test strips with a substance that would make them undesirable and placing them together in a Ziploc or other sealable bag or container.
Somewhere else you can dispose of your expired test strips is at a local pharmacy as long as they are a part of the medication take-back program, you can find authorized drug collection facilities using the link below. Another helpful tip for disposal was that National Perscription Drug Take Back Day is every April 30th from 10 am – 2 pm. On this day a lot more locations are opened up and equipped to take back medications/ health tools like expired testing strips. As a note, the facilities that participate in this drug take-back day will not accept used products.
If you are questioning the disposal options of any of your diabetes supplies it is helpful to analyze the packaging of the product. If it is able to be recycled it will have the recycling symbol on the package.
Another good tip suggested by multiple sources was that if you are going to throw away your test strips at home you should mix the strips with something that makes them seem repulsive to pets or children. Some examples were cat litter, rubbing alcohol, coffee grounds, or white vinegar.
If you are unsure of the proper disposal of any of your diabetes products a good, reliable place to get information and guidance is your doctor’s office.
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