Syringe safety

Person put a used needle in a sharps container

Used syringes can pose a health hazard to the community.

Council provides syringe disposal bins in our public toilets. These bins are monitored and maintained by a contracting service.

Report a found syringe

Needle and Syringe Program

Residents return their full containers to one of the following locations:

  • Nyah West Pharmacy
    144 Monash Avenue, Nyah West
  • Robinvale District Health Services
    128-132 Latje Rd, Robinvale
  • Swan Hill District Health (Hospital)
    48 Splatt Street, Swan Hill
  • Swan Hill District Health
    13 Pritchard Street, Swan Hill
  • Kents Amcal Pharmacy
    202-206 Campbell, Street Swan Hill
  • Marraboor Pharmacy
    30-34 McCrae Street, Swan Hill

The Needle and Syringe Program is a Department of Health program. Council does not provide sharps containers or provide a disposal service. See more Needle and Syringe Program locations across Victoria.  

Do Don't
  • Tell children to never pick up needles and syringes, but to call an adult
  • Place used needles in a proper container (such as a sharps container)
  • Store the container in child and animal proof areas
  • Pick up the syringe by the blunt end (barrel end) with gloves
  • Wash your hands afterwards with warm soapy water
  • Toss loose syringes in the bin
  • Clip needles with scissors
  • Get rid of syringes in the toilet
  • Put syringes in aluminium cans or glass containers
  • Put the sharps container in the bin - this can be a risk to garbage collection workers as even heavy duty containers will break under enough pressure

Safe disposal of a syringe

If you find a need or syringe and decide to remove it yourself, make sure you:

  1. Wear latex or plastic gloves for protection. Thick gloves, such as gardening gloves, make it difficult to pick up the needle and syringe.
  2. Take an approved disposal container and lid to the site. These containers are available from all Needle and Syringe Program locations listed above. If you do not have one, use a hard plastic container such as an empty detergent bottle. Do not use glass bottles as these can break.
  3. If the needle and syringe is difficult to reach, carefully remove rubbish or other material around it so that you have direct access to it If there is more than one needle and syringe, separate them using a stick or the end of a broom. Do this carefully. Each needle and syringe can then be picked up individually.
  4. Pick up the needle and syringe by the barrel (plastic end). Do not pick it up by the needle end. Make sure the needle is pointing away from you.
  5. Never recap a needle and syringe, even if the cap has also been discarded.
  6. Place the needle and syringe, needle end first, into the container. The container should be on a stable surface and not held by hand.
  7. Secure the lid on the container. Take off the gloves and put them in a plastic bag. Tie a knot at the end of the bag and place it in a rubbish bin.
  8. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  9. To dispose of the container, take it to a local Needle and Syringe Program listed above or contact the Disposal Helpline on 1800 552 355 for further advice. Never dispose of needles and syringes in rubbish bins, recycling bins, drains, toilets or sanitary bins.

What to do if you get a needle stick injury

If you get pricked by a discarded needle and syringe (often referred to as a ‘needle stick injury’), the following steps should be taken:

  1. Flush the area with flowing water.
  2. Wash the wound well with soap and hot water.
  3. Put antiseptic on the wound with a waterproof band-aid.
  4. Seek medical attention for an assessment of the risk of infection and appropriate treatment.
  5. If the needle and syringe cannot be retrieved, mark the area so others are not at risk and contact the Disposal Help-line 1800 552 355

Businesses disposing of sharps

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