Syringes in recycling bins cause a hazard to staff

Published: 06 Jun 2023

A staff member at the Mackay Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) has received a needle stick injury while sorting recyclables.

Needles and sharps kit units are not recyclable items and cannot be processed at the MRF at Paget.

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson said this was a completely unacceptable injury risk for anyone in a workplace.

“Safety is paramount for our staff, and it is incredible to think that anyone would find it okay to dispose of needles in their recycling bin,” Mayor Williamson said.

“All of our staff members deserve to go home at the end of the day unharmed and without the fear of injury or disease,” he said.

“Our recycling bins are for household packaging such as cardboard, paper, glass, tin and aluminium and hard plastics. They are not an extra rubbish bin for general waste.”

Mayor Williamson said every three months the MRF was collecting about two 240 litre bins of used needles.

“This seems to have become routine behaviour for some of our residents and it needs to stop immediately.”

Used syringes should be placed into a sharps kit unit and taken to pharmacies for disposal. A syringe disposal bin is located behind MAP Pharmacy at Fourways, on the corner of Bridge and Nebo roads.

There are also many public facilities that provide sharps kits for the safe disposal of syringes.