Community sharps are medical devices that penetrate the skin and are used in the home or outside formal medical services.  For people living with diabetes, sharps include:

  • Pen needles
  • Needles used to insert insulin pump tubing
  • Syringes
  • Lancets (finger pricker)

Correct disposal of sharps involves placing them in an appropriate strong plastic container such as an Australian Standards sharp container or a puncture resistant plastic container with a screw top lid, then disposing of the container into community sharps disposal facilities.  (Loose sharps must not be emptied into a community sharps disposal facility.)  Community sharps disposal facilities can be located at:

  • Public hospitalsNews_Sharps Disposal Unit
  • Participating pharmacies
  • Community sharps disposal bins in public areas
  • Diabetes NSW shops

Community sharps or used sharps containers should not be placed into household recycling bin, waste bin or a public waste bin.


In May 2015 Diabetes NSW, with the support of the NSW Ministry of Health, completed a survey of more than 1000 NDSS registrants.  Two main aims of the survey were to identify current practices in the disposal of community sharps and to understand barriers to correct disposal.

Of the twenty thousand questionnaires sent a response rate of 5.5% was received with 1111 questionnaires returned by June 2015.  The survey results included:

  • 51% of people surveyed indicated that they had not received any information regarding recommended safe practices.
  • A concerning percentage of people place sharps loosely in their household garbage or recycling bin.  32% do this with lancet disposal and 20% with pen needles, syringes or pump infusion set cannula insertion needles.
  • There is low awareness of the availability of sharps disposal facilities at local Public Hospitals with 52% indicating that they were not aware of this.
  • 42% indicated sharps disposal facility was not easy to use.  Top reasons included lack of transport to get to it, no signage, poor lighting and no disability access.

Printed copies of the ‘Community Sharps Disposal – What you need to know’ leaflets are available FREE OF CHARGE – MAX 50 leaflets. The other languages are only available as  downloadable PDF file.

To order printed copies of the English and Pictorial Community Sharps Resources you can call the Diabetes NSW Customer Care Line 1300 136 588 to place your order.

Community sharps information is also available in 19 languages on the Diabetes NSW website (scroll to the bottom of the page).

To locate the nearest safe sharps disposal location, customers can visit