What To Do With Unwanted Medicines and Sharps (Needles, Syringes)?
Hoarding of old and unwanted medicines can lead to the medicines becoming toxic or harming children if left lying around and leading to both misuse and abuse. More than 300 tonnes of medicines are being inappropriately thrown out in Australia each year. The most common means of disposal, down the sink or toilet or in the bin, can all lead to poor environmental consequences. The Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project operates from the following pharmacies without charge:
- Forster Amcal Pharmacy (49 Wharf Street, Forster, Ph 02 6554 6322)
- Priceline Pharmacy (Stocklands Breese Pde, Forster, Ph 02 6555 5589)
- Tuncurry Plaza Soul Pattinson Chemist (29 Manning St, Tuncurry, Ph 02 6555 4000)
- Myall Pharmacy Tea Gardens (Myall Quays Bld, Tea Gardens, Ph 4997 2445)
- Myall Pharmacy Hawks Nest (47 Yamba Ct, Hawks Nest, Ph 4997 0267)
Businesses that use sharps must arrange their own waste disposal service with a contractor licensed to transport sharps waste. Community sharps from residential property may include needles and syringes used for treatment of diabetes, allergies, pain management and other conditions. Illicit drug/steroid use and injection of pets and livestock are also included. These sharps should be stored in a sharps container or other puncture-resistant, rigid plastic container. These containers may then be disposed of in community sharps bins located at the local pharmacies listed above without charge.
Needle Clean Up Hotline 1800 633 353
Established to help reduce the risk of injury associated with inappropriately discarded needles and syringes, the hotline can be contacted Monday to Friday 8.00am to 7.00pm and Saturday 10.00am to 6.00pm. After-hours messages can be left and will be responded to in business hours. Hotline services include:
- a speedy response to collect needles in public places;
- information regarding management of community sharps;
- information on the location of community sharps disposal facilities in local areas;
- information on how to handle and dispose of used needles.
Links and References
Community Sharps Management Guidelines for NSW Councils - NSW HEALTH
Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project
Diabetes Australia - NSW
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Waste Management Industry Group