I have found a used needle or syringe near my home, what should I do?

The Australian Government Department of Health has standing advice for people when they find a used needle or syringe near their home or in a public place.

Essentially the options are to call your state based needle or syringe clean up hotline or local council.  They should be able to come out within 2-3 days to remove the used needle or syringe.  If you can’t or don’t want to wait that long then you have two options:

  1. Collect and dispose of the used needle or syringe yourself
  2. Call Jim’s Hazmat to quickly and safely remove the needles on 131 546

Used Needle or Syringe Clean Up Hotlines

The Department of Health advise related to disposal of a used and discarded needle or syringe is that each state has different guidance.

A reasonable approach if you do find a needle and syringe is to contact the Needle Clean Up Hotline or local government authority (council) in your area.   They will usually arrange for the needle and syringe to be collected within 48 hours. A list of these hotlines is available here.

DIY Used Needle and Syringe Clean Up

If you want to DIY the removal of a used needle and syringe you will need:

  • A hard plastic container with a screw top (such as a plastic juice, milk or soft drink bottle).
  • A pair of gloves (dishwashing or other disposable gloves) – please note these wont prevent or protect you from a needle stick injury but they will help prevent the transfer of blood and other dirt or debris

Instructions:

  • Take the container to the syringe.
  • Wear the gloves and keep away from the sharp end of the needle.
  • Carefully pick up the syringe by the barrel.
  • Do not replace the cap on the needle.
  • Needle point first, put the syringe in to the container and seal it tightly.
  • Ring the Needle Clean Up Hotline or local council in your area to arrange for the container to be collected.
  • Alternatively, you can put the container with the needle and syringe inside in to a syringe disposal bin if one is nearby.

There are some really important warnings to keep in mind when dealing with used needles or syringes:

  1. Do not put needles and syringes down toilets or drains as they will end up in the waterways or on beaches.
  2. Do not put needles and syringes in household waste or recycling bins.
  3. Tell children not to touch or pick up needles and syringes and to always call an adult for help.
However many business owners, residents and concerned community owners who are dealing with often repeatedly discarded used needles and syringes need a faster way to deal with the problem that doesn’t involve putting themselves or their staff at risk.
If you can’t or don’t want to wait for Council or other assistance Jim’s Hazmat Removal teams are available to assist on short notice.
Click here to contact Jim’s Hazmat today about used needle and syringe removal (select BioHazard Recovery as the service you need).
Suzanne Commerford is the National Business Manager of Jim's Building Inspections and founder of SheBuilds, Australia's home improvement community for women. Suzanne is also a part time content contributor for the newly established Asbestos Removal division of Jim's. Suzanne has qualifications in Asbestos Removal (Friable) and Asbestos Removal Supervision as well as extensive experience in the development of procedures and manuals for Asbestos Removal and Encapsulation. Suzanne is also the author of Asbestos Inspection Reporting content contained in BuildInspect. You can find out more at www.shebuilds.com.au.

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