September 30, 2019

Stericycle Study Finds Administering Insulin Injections in Public, Lack of Disposal Options Creates Unease Among California Diabetic Community

BANNOCKBURN, IL., September 30, 2019 - More than a quarter (28%) of Californians with diabetes admit one of their biggest concerns with their diabetic care is how to properly dispose of needles. Furthermore, nearly half (42%) think a lack of public safety disposal containers is the biggest challenge they face when disposing of needles/lancets, and more than half (54%) who have disposed of used needles/lancets in a public trash can did so because there were no safe disposal containers nearby and they had no other choice.

That’s according to findings from the new consumer study, “California’s Access to Care & Sharps Disposal in the Diabetic Community,” conducted by Stericycle, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRCL), the leading provider of compliance-based solutions that protect people and brands, promote health and safeguard the environment.

“With 55% of Californians living with diabetes or pre-diabetes today, we launched this survey to understand the concerns and difficulties surrounding administration of care so we can find ways to make their disease easier to manage,” said Cindy Miller, President and CEO of Stericycle, Inc. “We believe that safe and compliant sharps disposal options in all public places will improve public safety by reducing risks of accidental needle pricks and environmental impacts.”

The survey of 500 Californians with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes revealed that nearly one in five (15%) typically dispose used needles/lancets in a trash can in their home, despite the fact that the majority (65%) are concerned that their disposed needles/lancets could harm someone in their household or where they work. A lack of disposal options both at home and in public makes care more difficult, as the majority (67%) of Californians with diabetes have administered an insulin injection in a public place, and is likely one of many reasons why it can trigger negative feelings. Less than one in five (15%) Californians with diabetes feel comfortable administering their insulin or medication in public, saying they feel embarrassed (27%), anxious (24%) or nervous (20%).

However, new legislation in the state may be an answer to more accessible disposal. California Senate Bill 212, which requires sharps manufacturers and specified pharmaceutical drug companies to establish, fund and promote a statewide takeback system for these products may help offset this imbalance. Although the report revealed that only half (54%) of Californians with diabetes are aware of the bill, of those who are aware, three-quarters (75%) believe it will make disposal easier, as they’ll no longer have to purchase their own waste containers.

“Our research shows that greater access to safe, discreet disposal methods, as well as new legislation, would alleviate a lot of the extra work, emotional anxiety and safety concerns they face every time they need to administer treatment. This is one problem we can help solve. In addition to educating the public on the needs of the diabetic community through this research, we’ve also partnered with the American Diabetes Association to provide greater awareness of care and disposal solutions for people living with diabetes and support their Tour de Cure in Los Angeles this October,” said Miller.

Additional findings from the Stericycle study include:

If more methods to safely dispose of sharps from diabetes care existed, Californians would use them

  • More than half (53%) of Californians with diabetes have never encountered a sharps container in a public restroom, and therefore have never had a chance to use one
  • However, if they were to see a sharps container in a public restroom, nearly three quarters (72%) of Californians with diabetes would use it to dispose of their insulin/lancet needles
  • Additionally, the majority (61%) of Californians who have encountered a sharps container in a public restroom at a retailer/restaurant/brand think more highly of the company
  • The majority (88%) of Californians with diabetes think at-home sharps disposal kit would help them manage their diabetes care more easily, giving them another option for disposal

Greater awareness of diabetes care and access to safe sharps disposal methods is needed

  • More than a fifth (21%) of Californians with diabetes have not talked with friends and family about how to administer care/insulin to them in case of an emergency
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) have not talked with their doctor about proper needle disposal, and, therefore, may not be aware of proper disposal methods.
  • More than two in five (42%) think a lack of options for disposing needles/lancets at home is the biggest challenge people with diabetes face today when disposing needles/lancets.

For more information about Stericycle and the “California’s Access to Care & Sharps Disposal in the Diabetic Community” report, click here to read the full report.


About Stericycle

Stericycle, Inc., (Nasdaq: SRCL) is a U.S. based business-to-business services company and leading provider of compliance-based solutions that protect people and brands, promote health and safeguard the environment. Stericycle serves more than one million customers in all 50 U.S. states and 21 countries worldwide with solutions for regulated waste management, secure information destruction, compliance and customer contact.  For more information about Stericycle, please visit

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