Sharps, needles and syringes

If you use sharps—such as syringes, finger prickers or continuous glucose monitors—at home or for non-medical use, it's important to dispose of them properly.

It's not safe to place sharps, or sharps containers, in household bins or street litter bins. This can harm or injure the people emptying bins or sorting materials by hand at landfill and recycling facilities.

Disposing of sharps

Sharps are medical devices that penetrate the skin that are used for either self-administered healthcare in the home, or injecting drug use. They include:

  • syringes
  • pen needles
  • lancets (finger prickers)
  • continuous glucose monitors
  • needles used to administer insulin.

You can safely dispose of used sharps, free of charge, at:

  • Public hospitals.
  • Participating community health centres and Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) outlets (available to everyone, not just NSP clients), including:
    • Newcastle Community Health Service, 670 Hunter Street, Newcastle West - 24 hour access
    • Newcastle Youth Service, 14 Wood Street, Newcastle West - 24 hour access
    • ACON in Islington - 24 hour access.
  • Participating pharmacies.
  • Community sharps disposal bins.

You can call our Waste Services team on 4974 2000, or your local community health care provider, for help in locating your nearest disposal facility.

Secure your sharps in a strong, plastic container, such as:

  • An Australian Standard Sharps container.
  • A rigid, puncture-resistant plastic container with a well-secured screw top lid, such as a plastic laundry detergent container.

Sharps should not be stored in glass jars, cardboard boxes, drink cans or bottles. These are not shatter or puncture proof.

If you see a discarded needle or syringe, you can call the NSW Needle Clean Up Hotline on 1800 633 353.

The hotline coordinates the clean-up of dumped needles and syringes in public places anywhere in NSW.

The hotline is staffed from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, with an answering machine available at other times.

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