A lot of people wonder about the best place to dispose of used box cutter blades. While human instinct may tell you to just throw used blades in the trash, there are actually safety considerations to think about first. There are certain places you can dispose of box cutter blades safely, and others where you should not.
Recycling Box Cutter Blades
Recycling box cutter blades are fairly easy and you can place them in a dedicated disposable box. Makers of razor blades and other utility products often sell these types of recycling boxes. Some of these companies include:
- Pacific Handy Cutter Inc.
These containers are small and have a slit or opening for inserting blades. They may also include a biohazard warning label on the front.
Once full, you simply recycle the container with the blades inside. These bins are made of plastic or metal. Metal containers can be taken to your local recycling station and dropped into the metal bin.
If you choose to throw a used blade out all by itself, make sure to wrap it in duct or packaging tape to protect the person who picks up the garbage.
The only blades that cannot be recycled are ceramic blades which must be thrown away. Ceramic blades are often pricier as well. Even so, since ceramic blades last much longer than steel blades, they may be worth purchasing.
Sharps containers are specially designed containers that store used blades. These come in various sizes and can store needles, blades, and other sharp tools or instruments. These come in tubes, rectangular boxes, or circular bins. They have storage volumes that range from 1-quart containers up to 28-gallon bins. Small sharps containers can be mounted on wall brackets.
Once the sharps container is full, seal it with duct or packaging tape and place a clear label on it. You may be able to place the container in your regular garbage depending on local regulations.
Make Your Own Disposal Container
You can make your own razor blade disposal box with any suitable lidded container you have around.
The goal is to keep the box cutter blades away from anyone grabbing or spilling them, such as kids or co-workers. You can use any lidded container that requires a strong grip or screw top to open, such as:
- Plastic jars
- Rubber-made shop or kitchen containers
- Plastic drums
Use The Original Package’s Built-in Disposal Compartment
Some safety razor blades come with packaging that includes a space to store used blades. For instance, the inexpensive slip-type box cutters may have a slot on the box or extra compartment to slide the blades into. These are great to have but have a limited storage capacity, usually only 10 at a time. In a workshop-type environment, it may be best to also have a sharps container or dedicated disposal container nearby or mounted on a wall.
Recycling The Box Cutter
If you choose to recycle box cutters, make sure to have them in a recyclable plastic container and do not have them just sitting by themselves in the bin. If a sanitation worker grabs them they could be injured if they are sticking out. So, please be responsible for how you recycle your used box cutters and blades.
If you use plastic box cutters, they cannot be recycled and must be placed in the trash can. Plastic box cutters can have metal components that make them hard or impossible to recycle. If you remove blades from metal box cutters, then they can go in the recycle bin. If you have used box cutters with the blades removed, you can donate them to a local charity for worker skills training.
Make sure to keep blade storage containers out of the reach of small children. If you keep safety in mind when disposing of box cutter blades, you can minimize any risk of injury or harm to yourself or others.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.