The Freestyle Libre applicator is a device used by many people with diabetes to apply their glucose sensors.
These sensors help people with diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels without having to prick their fingers multiple times a day.
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While the Freestyle Libre system has many benefits for those with diabetes, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the applicators once they are no longer needed.
In this article, we will explore whether Freestyle Libre applicators can be recycled and discuss the various options available for proper disposal.
It is a super easy, but the needle/blade looks very scary, but it does not hurt at all.
This is a photo of the Libre Freestyle applicator with the blade showing, just before I applied it to my arm. The white part is adhesive and is not impacted by swimming or bathing. pic.twitter.com/W3L21cTaeH
— Paul McLean (@KetoPaul) June 18, 2019
What Is A Freestyle Libre Applicator?
The Freestyle Libre applicator is a small medical device used with the Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system for people with diabetes.
It is used to insert a small sensor just under the skin of the user’s upper arm, which continuously measures glucose levels and sends the information to a receiver or smartphone app.
The applicator is a single-use, disposable device designed to make the insertion process as easy and painless as possible.
It consists of a plastic housing and a small needle to insert the sensor.
Can You Recycle Freestyle Libre Applicator?
For anyone who’s curious, this is what the Freestyle Libre applicator looks like pre-insertion. That’s a naughty little needle peeking out there! But totally painless! I love medical science! pic.twitter.com/KCVFE35NoU
— Kayleigh Tanner (@DailyKayleigh) October 21, 2017
The answer is complex. The Freestyle Libre applicator comprises several materials, including plastic, metal, and electronic components.
While some of these materials are recyclable, others are not, making it difficult to recycle the entire applicator as a single unit.
However, the good news is that some parts of the Freestyle Libre applicator can be recycled.
For example, the plastic outer casing and the metal needle can be recycled if separated from the electronic components.
This can be achieved by disassembling the applicator or sending it to a specialized recycling facility.
In addition to recycling, there are other options for properly disposing of the Freestyle Libre applicator.
One option is to participate in the manufacturer’s recycling program, allowing users to return their used applicators to the company for proper disposal.
Another option is to dispose of the applicator as electronic waste (e-waste) at a designated e-waste recycling facility.
It’s important to note that improper disposal of the Freestyle Libre applicator can negatively affect the environment.
For example, if the applicator ends up in a landfill, it can release harmful chemicals into the environment as it decomposes.
Therefore, it’s crucial to follow proper disposal methods to minimize environmental impact.
While the entire Freestyle Libre applicator may not be recyclable as a single unit, recycling certain parts is still possible.
Additionally, there are other options for proper disposal, including participation in the manufacturer’s recycling program or disposal of e-waste.
Following proper disposal methods, we can all do our part to protect the environment and minimize waste.
How To Recycle A Freestyle Libre Applicator?
The Freestyle Libre applicator can be recycled through specialized programs or facilities that accept medical devices or electronic waste.
Here are some steps to follow to recycle a Freestyle Libre applicator:
- Check with your local recycling program or waste management facility to see if they accept medical devices or electronic waste.
- Place the Freestyle Libre applicator in the appropriate recycling bin or container if they do.
Make sure to remove any batteries or other components that are not recyclable and dispose of them properly.
- If your local program or facility does not accept medical devices or electronic waste, look for specialized recycling programs or organizations that do.
One example is the “Sharps TakeAway Recovery System” from Waste Management, which provides mail-in sharps and medical waste disposal solutions.
- If you are still looking for a recycling program or facility, contact Abbott, the manufacturer of Freestyle Libre applicators, to inquire about their recycling program or options.
Always check with your local recycling program or waste management facility to ensure proper disposal methods and guidelines.
Can I Reuse a Freestyle Libre Applicator?
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The Freestyle Libre applicator is designed for single use only and should not be reused.
Reusing the applicator can lead to contamination and potential health risks.
It is important to dispose of used applicators properly and use a new one for each glucose monitoring session.
Attempting to reuse the Freestyle Libre applicator can introduce bacteria or other contaminants into the bloodstream, leading to infections or other health risks.
Additionally, the applicator is designed to be used with a specific sensor, and using it multiple times can compromise the accuracy of the readings.
Therefore, it is important to always use a new Freestyle Libre applicator for each glucose monitoring session and properly dispose of the used applicator.
Some local waste management facilities may accept used applicators in their medical waste stream, or specialized programs may be available to dispose of them properly.
It is important to check with your local recycling or waste management program to find the best option for properly disposing used applicators.
What Are the Environmental Concerns of Disposing of Freestyle Libre Applicators?
Yes, environmental concerns are associated with disposing of Freestyle Libre applicators in regular waste.
The applicator contains plastic and other materials that do not biodegrade easily.
When disposed of in regular waste, they may end up in landfills or the natural environment, which can take hundreds of years to break down.
Additionally, some of the components in the Freestyle Libre applicator may contain hazardous materials, such as lithium batteries, which can leak harmful chemicals into the environment if not disposed of properly.
Therefore, it is important to properly dispose of Freestyle Libre applicators through recycling or other appropriate waste management methods to minimize their environmental impact.
Abbott | Global Healthcare & Research | Abbott India Limited. (n.d.). Abbott | Global Healthcare & Research | Abbott India Limited. https://www.abbott.co.in/homepage.html
Plastics, sharps diabetes waste require conscious disposal. (2021, April 22). Plastics, Sharps Diabetes Waste Require Conscious Disposal. https://www.healio.com/news/endocrinology/20210422/plastics-sharps-diabetes-waste-require-conscious-disposal
How does Freestyle Libre Work: Amazing Features Explained. (2021, November 10). Not Just a Patch. https://notjustapatch.com/how-does-freestyle-libre-work/
FreeStyle Libre CGM Guide: What to Know. (n.d.). FreeStyle Libre CGM Guide: What to Know. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/freestyle-libre