Sharps are needles and syringes which are used by community members for various reasons such as the admission of drugs or supplements and health monitoring. It's important to handle and dispose of sharps safely to protect yourself and the community from injury and infection.

 

How to dispose of sharps safely

Disposing of sharps at home

Small quantities (up to 7 litres) of personal use sharps can be disposed of by placing the needle and the syringe in a securely sealed rigid plastic container, such as a used laundry detergent or bleach bottle (but not a plastic milk or soft drink container, aluminium drink can or a glass bottle or jar); and placing it in one of the following locations:

Disposing of sharps from a commercial facility

Businesses (such as medical or vet clinics) are required to employ a suitable waste disposal contractor to remove used sharps.

Disposing of sharps in public

Should you need to inject in public, please place your sharps in a sharps bin. These sharps disposal bins are available as wall mounted units within some toilet facilities in our parks.

Location of sharps disposal bins in Toowoomba toilet facilities

 

What to do if you find sharps 

Sharps found on Council land

If you come across a needle or syringe in our region, don't attempt to remove the item yourself or attempt to recap the needle. Contact us on 131 872 and report the location of the sharps and our staff will remove the items. The following information will be useful:

  • Exact location of the sharps e.g. landmarks and/or distances
  • Details of the injecting equipment e.g. one needle, cap off, broken syringe

Sharps found on private property

Sharps found on private property can be put in a rigid walled, puncture resistant container such as a soft drink bottle and sealed securely. The container can then be put into an ordinary rubbish bin. Only dispose of the sharps if able to do so safely.

If you have any concerns, contact the Queensland Clean Needle Helpline on 1800 633 353.

 

Injuries from needle sticks

If you are accidentally pricked by a needle follow the steps below as soon as possible.

  1. Wash the area around the puncture for at least 30 seconds, using soap and warm water. Bottled water can also be used if no hand washing facilities are available. 
  2. Cover the puncture with a band aid or similar medical dressing.
  3. Contact your doctor or community health centre immediately.
  4. If able to do so, follow the information provided above in 'How to dispose of sharps safely'.

The risk of catching a serious infection after a needle stick puncture is very low because blood borne viruses don't survive for long outside of the body.

Further advice on injuries from needle sticks can be obtained from the Queensland Government website or by calling Queensland Health on 1800 633 353 (24 hour service).