How to dispose of community sharps safely
What are community sharps?
Many people rely on using needles and syringes to maintain their own health or that of a family member. Injecting equipment is also used by injecting drug users and for animal healthcare by pet and livestock owners.
Community sharps is the name used to describe needles, syringes, lancets and similar equipment resulting from these activities.
Disposal of community sharps
Community sharps should always be kept secure and separate from other waste.
Because of the high risk of injury to workers and other community members they should never be disposed of:
- In household waste or recycling bins (plastic syringes are NOT recyclable).
- In public litter bins.
- By flushing down toilets or drains.
- By discarding into the environment.
If you inject at home you should:
- Use a sharps container or other appropriate puncture resistant container (NOT glass).
- Store containers out of reach of children.
- Seal lid of container when three quarters full and dispose of container at one of the community sharps disposal facilities listed below.
If you inject away from home you should:
- Place your injecting equipment in a community sharps bin in a public toilet or other place that has a community sharps disposal bin.
- Place your injecting equipment in a sharps container or other appropriate puncture resistant container and dispose of the container at one of the community sharps disposal facilities listed below.
Business operators in service industries such as hospitality, accommodation, entertainment and retailing may encounter community sharps on their premises. Business operators can facilitate safe disposal and safeguard the health of employees, customers and waste workers by:
- Installing community sharps disposal bins in public toilets and restrooms.
- Arranging for a contractor licensed to remove all community sharps generated or collected on the premises.
If you find injecting equipment
While the risk of acquiring a serious infection as a result of an accidental injury from a community sharp is extremely low, the anxiety resulting from such an injury can be significant.
If you find a syringe in a public place, help protect your community by phoning us on 1300 87 83 87.