It seems almost every blood glucose meter company offers discounts if you trade in your old meter, but have you ever wondered what happens to all those meters they get sent?
Well, they are destroyed.
According to representatives from two of the major meter companies, Boehringer Mannheim and LifeScan, the meters pose a biohazard since they have come into direct contact with blood or body fluids.
A customer service representative at LifeScan said that the meters are destroyed under specific guidelines, and no parts are reused. In the past few years the process has changed to a chemical melt-down process, but the end results are the same. All the employees that work with the used meters must be fully vaccinated and wear protective clothing to prevent any illness that might be caused by exposure to blood from the meters.
A special truck comes to pick up the meters, which have been rendered unrecognizable by anyone who might find one. The meters are in specially marked bags and taken to one of the few landfills in the country that is specifically designated for biohazardous materials.
Boehringer Mannheim has cut down on the amount of work involved with trade-in meters by accepting just the battery cover of the old meter for trade in. Occasionally, however, whole meters are sent to the company, in which case they are destroyed in much the same manner as the meters sent to LifeScan.