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, such as the 24-hour sharps disposal unit at Newcastle Community Health Service and ACON in Islington
  • Participating pharmacies
  • Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) outlets (available to everyone, not just NSP clients)
  • Community sharps disposal bins.

To find your nearest sharps disposal facility, including directions and opening hours, visit safesharps.org.au

You can also 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.