Disposing of syringes

Used sharps such as needles and syringes must be disposed of the right way to avoid spreading infectious diseases. Find out about correct handling, the use of approved sharps bins and disposal at an approved waste site. Do not throw used sharps and infectious waste into your rubbish or recycling bins.

Home users: disposing of sharps (e.g. diabetic, IV drug users)

Our sharps service has been temporarily suspended. Please keep sharps in sealed containers at home if possible. 
If you need to dispose of full sharps containers, or require a new container, you may do so at Banyule Community Health Centre, Heidelberg West, 9450 2000, 8am–5pm (bin is located in front of the building and accessible at any time).

If you need to dispose of sharps you can pick up a sharps container from our service centres. Full containers can be brought to Council and swapped for a replacement container.

We supply syringe disposal bins at our public toilets located at:

  • Malahang Reserve in Heidelberg West
  • Heidelberg Park in Heidelberg
  • Watsonia Park in Watsonia.

Businesses disposing of sharps

Businesses such as acupuncturists, doctors, hairdressers that use sharps for procedures or services must arrange for a medical waste disposal contractor to dispose of used sharps.

Finding a used syringe: what to do?

Organise collection by Council

If you come across a discarded syringe on Council land, you can contact Council on 9490 4222, to arrange for it to be removed.

Collect and dispose of discarded syringes the right way

If you regularly need to collect and dispose of discarded syringes (from outside business, school or sporting club), we can supply you with a syringe container.

Only attempt to remove and dispose of used syringes if you understand the right way to do it.

  1. Check the safety of the location: is the ground sloping or uneven and what is the likelihood of being bumped or pushed while picking up the syringe.
  2. Make sure you have a clear view of the syringe: clear nearby rubbish or debris carefully. Do not put your hand into any area that you cannot see.
  3. Put on disposable latex or vinyl gloves. Gloves will not prevent you from being injured but will form a clean barrier between the hands and the syringe. Don’t use thicker gardening gloves – they make it difficult to handle the syringe safely.
  4. Pick up one syringe at a time. If syringes are close together carefully separate them using a stick or the end of a broom.
  5. Do not attempt to recap the needle: this is how most accidental needle-stick injuries happen. The cap is usually bright orange and can be disposed of like normal rubbish.
  6. Do not break, bend or otherwise try to render the syringe useless.
  7. Place the syringe container on the ground or flat stable surface beside the syringe (don’t hold in your hand).
  8. Pick up the used syringe by the plunger or barrel (plastic end), with the needle pointing away from you. Never touch the sharp end/point with your fingers or hands.
  9. Place the needle/syringe into the sharps container and close the lid.
  10. Place in a rigid puncture-proof sealable container if an approved syringe container is not available. Then place this container in an approved sharps container for disposal.
  11. Remove gloves and put them in a plastic bag (tie a knot in the bag and place it in a rubbish bin). Wash your hands with running water and soap.
  12. Place the container in a secure/child proof location (e.g. car boot, locked cabinet).
  13. Take the container to our Greensborough or Ivanhoe Service Centres for disposal.

Needle stick injuries: what to do?

If you get pricked by a discarded needle (a needle stick injury), take the following steps.

  • Don’t panic: the risk of serious infection is very low.
  • Wash the wound well with soap and running water (alcohol based hand rubs or wipes can be used when soap and water are not available).
  • Put antiseptic on the wound and cover with a sterile adhesive dressing.
  • Seek medical attention for an assessment of the risk of infection and appropriate treatment.
  • If the needle/syringe involved in the injury cannot be safely collected, mark the area so others are not at risk and contact us to arrange for it to be removed.

More information

Syringe Disposal Helpline on 1800 552 355 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).