Sharps waste is a type of 'hazardous waste' defined in the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and detailed in the Environmental Guidelines: Assessment, Classification and Management of Liquid and Non-Liquid Wastes (Waste Guidelines - EPA 1999). It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste into the general waste stream.
What are Sharps Waste?
and other sharps resulting from skin penetration, medical, dental, veterinary or other related clinical activity; these are all classed as 'sharps waste' under NSW legislation. This waste must be managed as a 'hazardous waste' by the operator, and must not be disposed of as domestic waste.
Securing Sharps Waste
Your sharps must be secured in an Australian Standards approved Sharps container. Requirements for sharps disposal containers are found in the Australian Standard (AS) 4031 Non-reusable containers for the collection of sharp medical items used in health care areas.
These containers must be:
- clearly labelled sharps
- display the Bio-Hazard symbol
- are yellow in colour and made of an durable rigid plastic
- have one entry port that cannot be removed
Disposal of Sharps Waste
Sharps waste must be disposed of by a licensed hazardous waste contractor, contractors can be found in the Yellow pages under 'Waste Reduction & Disposal Services'. Skin penetration operators in the Shire generally require container disposal every 2 or 3 years. Evidence (receipts) of appropriate sharps disposal should be kept on the skin penetration premises and made available to council officers during your annual inspection.
Community sharps describe sharps that have been generated by non-clinical activities. This category includes sharps used by people with diabetes and other medical conditions requiring self-injection in the home, and syringes used by injecting drug users. Community sharps can be disposed of at selected pharmacies or at Dungog Community Hospital, Hospital Road, Dungog NSW 2420, phone (02) 4995 7000.