In summary, discarding of needles and syringes in domestic waste/recycling systems varies in regards to legislative requirements. While the legislation may not be specific as to allowing (or not), disposal of used N&S in the domestic waste stream, advice issued by most government agencies suggests that this disposal route is not preferred. However, same agencies prefer this option, especially where all other options available to an IDU are deemed to pose a higher risk to the community.

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Victoria
Western Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Legislation

Regulations on Recycling and Garbage 2003

Advice provided

Plastic bags or film plastics, disposable nappies, motor oil, syringes, crockery, drinking glasses, light globes, window or mirror glass, car parts, garbage, kitchen and food scraps, clothes, garden waste, or non-recyclable materials should not be put into the recycling bin or hopper.

A specific program was conducted to actively discourage disposal of N&S into both domestic waste and recycling streams.

New South Wales

Legislation

No specific legislation applies to the disposal of N&S in domestic waste/recycling streams.

Advice provided

However, advice provided is based around it being recommended not to do so unless no other option (advice from NSP is to place N&S into rigid walled containers if there is no other safe option other than disposal into domestic waste streams).
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Northern Territory

Legislation

Misuse of Drugs Regulations

Advice provided

s3. Disposal of syringes or needles

For the purposes of section 12(5) of the Act, a hypodermic syringe or needle that has been used in the unlawful administration of a dangerous drug shall be disposed of –
  1. by depositing it in a rigid walled and puncture resistant container that is sealed or securely closed in such a manner that the contents are incapable of causing injury to any person; and
  2. by either –
    1. placing the container with its contents in a household or other refuse bin; or
    2. handing it or causing it to be handed to a person referred to in section 12(2) of the Act.

Queensland

Legislation

Environment Protection (Waste Management) Regulation 2000

Advice provided

reg 49(1) Subsection (2) applies to a person who-

(b) discards, at domestic premises, a hypodermic needle that has been in contact with human or animal tissue or body fluids; or

(2) the person must -
    1. place the needle or sharp in a rigid walled, puncture resistant container; and
    2. seal or securely close the container.
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South Australia

Legislation

No specific legislation applies to the disposal of N&S in domestic waste/recycling streams.

Advice provided

Discouraged

Tasmania

Legislation

No specific legislation applies to the disposal of N&S in domestic waste/recycling streams.

Advice provided

Not recommended to dispose of sharps containers and/or loose needles and syringes within the domestic waste or recycling system.

Victoria

Legislation

No specific legislation applies to the disposal of N&S in domestic waste/recycling streams in respect to allowing it (with conditions), or prohibiting the practice.

Advice provided

Not encouraged

Western Australia

Legislation

No specific legislation apart from Health (Rottnest Island) By-Laws 1989.

Advice provided

Recommended by Department of Health to dispose of needles and syringes in the domestic waste stream. Generators advised to deposit needles and syringes into a container such as a juice bottle prior to disposal.

An example of where this lies in legislation is provided in:

Health (Rottnest Island) By-Laws 1989

12. Refuse to be deposited in receptaclesTop of page

The occupier of premises shall:
  1. subject to paragraph (c), cause all refuse to be deposited in a receptacle;
  2. at all times keep the lid of the receptacle tightly closed except when depositing refuse;
  3. not deposit or permit to be deposited in a receptacle(vii) syringes, needles, surgical hardware, broken glass or other sharp objects, unless first wrapped in non-absorbant or impervious material or placed in a sealed impervious container;