The Eco-friendly Diabetic


The average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day. While there are no specific stats to pull from, it’s pretty obvious that those living with diabetes—no matter what type— could potentially be contributing more than the average person to the landfill. Who needs the added stress of their chronic condition negatively impacting the earth? In keeping with the directive to add more greens, here are a few tips to reduce your waste:

Worst First-Biohazards

That’s needles, the one lancet you use each month, used insulin bottles, syringes, or pump tubes—all of these items cannot be recycled or reused and should be disposed of in a biohazard container. Test strips fall into this category as well, but in the spirit of being reasonable, let’s just try to keep them contained and not liter. Where to start? Ask your doctor’s office as they will have the most up-to-date local information. Many communities provide disposal services or there are mail-in program options. Find more information on proper disposal here.

Recycle —The Big Easy

Recycle those packaging materials! All those inserts that come with your medications, continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and pump supplies are recyclable along with the box they were delivered in. Just this step alone is tremendous. Check with your pump company to see what recycling programs they offer. For example, Omnipod offers a mail-in program for recycling their pods.


If you have supplies you are no longer using, reduce your inventory by donating or selling if they are still in their prime. Insulin For Life accepts donations of supplies and insulin. Be sure to double check expiration dates. Working meters could be donated to local community programs or certified diabetes educators for teaching purposes. Electronics no longer in working order should be placed in an electronic waste bin at your local e-waste center.


The diabetes community is incredibly clever when it comes to ways to upcycle materials. Test strip containers make a perfect “on-the-go” sharps container or for geocaching, there are apparently a wide range of DIY cat toys that can be constructed from pump tubing or from placing jingle bells in test strip containers, and glucose tab containers are the perfect storage place for quarters for laundry. We’ve seen some incredible art projects for raising awareness too. So, reuse as much as you can —some good can come from all this extra stuff!