If you find a discarded syringe
If you find a discarded syringe on public land, please contact ASSIST on 03 9209 6777.
Our Syringe Disposal Program aims to reduce needle and syringe litter and keep our City safe. You can help the community by making sure needles and syringes are removed from where they may cause harm to others. Report the exact location of the needles and syringes to ASSIST to arrange for collection.
We don't collect discarded syringes from commercial properties, residential properties, schools, businesses, Office of Housing, or private childcare centers. Contact your managing agent or a medical waste company to collect.
Transmission from discarded syringes
If you are pricked or scratched with a discarded needle, the risk of catching a blood-borne virus like HIV, hepatitis B or C, or tetanus is very low. Research into the risks of discarded needles or syringes found that there is a greater risk of contracting tetanus than hepatitis B or HIV/AIDS through an injury received from an inappropriately discarded syringe or other injecting equipment.
Worldwide, there have been no documented cases of a member of the public contracting hepatitis B or HIV/AIDS through a needlestick injury from discarded injecting equipment. For more information, view 0 confirmed cases of HIV transmission from discarded syringes (PDF 644 KB).
There has been one confirmed case of hepatitis C transmission from a community needlestick injury. This occurred in Spain in June 2005 and was from a needle discarded in a cemetery.
Despite the low risk, you should consult your doctor or local community health service for further advice if you receive a needlestick injury.
Sharp safe bins and clean-ups
The City of Port Phillip has a syringe disposal contract with Veolia Waste Disposal. As part of this contract, 157 syringe disposal units (sharp safe bins) are located within the city. Bins can be found in all public toilets and in identified hot spots.
Veolia empty all sharp safe bins monthly, or more frequently if required. Statistical reports about the contents of the bins are provided to the City of Port Phillip's Health Services Unit for planning purposes. Approximately 35,000 sharps were collected from sharp safe bins throughout the city last year.
Veolia also conducts community clean-ups of known hot spots such as Grey, Carlisle and Greeves Streets in St Kilda. Discarded syringes and other associated equipment are picked up from the street and statistics kept.
Safe syringe collection
If you wish to remove the syringe, especially if there is immediate danger to children and other people, take your time and follow these guidelines:
- find a strong plastic container, such as a fruit juice bottle, and place it on the ground near the syringe
- pick the syringe up by the barrel end only, and never touch the sharp end
- never try to recap the syringe or break off the needle
- take the syringe to the container and put it inside
- screw the lid onto the container tightly.
Never throw the syringe or container down toilets or into gutters or drains, and don't put them in garbage or recycling bins either.
Contact the council's ASSIST centre to arrange for collection of the container, or you take it to your nearest needle and syringe program.
Needle stick injuries
If you get a needle stick injury,
- don't panic
- squeeze the wound and allow it to bleed freely
- wash and gently flush out the wound with soap and running water
- apply an antiseptic and sterile dressing such as a band-aid
- try to secure the syringe in a screw-top container so it can be tested for blood-borne viruses
- see your doctor or local community health centre for confidential support, testing and advice.
Containers for personal use
Council provides a service for supplying residents with syringe containers for personal medical use. Replacements are supplied when filled containers are returned to the council for appropriate disposal. If you use syringes for personal medical purposes and would like to participate in this service, please contact Council.