Article supplied by the North Coast Public Health Unit.
Many people rely on using needles and syringes (“sharps”) to maintain their health or that of a family member.
There are many sources of community-generated sharps:
- People with diabetes
- People on home dialysis
- People who inject steroids
- People who inject drugs
- People on home chemotherapy
- People who inject their animals
- People who use injectable beauty products
All public hospitals across NSW are obliged to have community sharps bins available for members of the community to use free of charge to dispose of the sharps they have used at home. Some community health centers also have community sharps bins installed for public use.
Many Councils across the North Coast also provide community sharps bins for residents and visitors to safely dispose of health-related sharps.
Patients should be encouraged to store their used sharps in a plastic puncture-proof container with a screw-on lid, preferably an Australian standard-approved yellow sharps container. When the container is full, patients should take their lidded container to a community sharps bin to dispose of it safely.
Sharps are not recyclable and should never be placed in household waste (red) or recycling (yellow) bins, or public rubbish bins.
Community sharps bins are not for use by businesses. All businesses that generate sharps waste are legally required to arrange a contractor to collect and dispose of that waste.
Proper disposal of community sharps reduces the risk of harm to others and the environment.
For enquiries about community sharps disposal options, please contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 or reach out to your local council.