Frequent Asked Questions

What is the difference between sharps waste and clinical waste?

Sharps and clinical waste often get used together, but they mean different things.

Clinical waste is defined as wastes generated in healthcare facilities or other facilities during the investigation or treatment of patients or research projects.

Sharps waste is any used object that is sharp and can lacerate or puncture skin.

Sharps waste can also be biohazardous and must be carefully handled. Common biohazardous sharps waste include hypodermic needles, disposable scalpels and blades, contaminated glass and certain plastics, and guidewires used in surgery.


How full should a sharps container be before emptying?

Sharps containers must only be filled to the marked line and closed immediately after this line is reached. The risk of injury is increased once the container is overfilled.


What do I do with a filled sharps container?

Once sharps containers are filled, follow the instructions on the container label to close and lock the container into its final closure state. Audible clicks can be heard to ensure a proper and safe closure. For individual use, filled sharps containers can be taken to your local pharmacy or council for disposal.

For businesses that generate sharps waste, filled sharps containers need to be disposed of through specialised waste disposal services. This will typically involve incineration of the sharps container.

It is important sharps waste is not disposed of the same was general waste as it poses a needle stick injury to public. Improper disposal could also lead to hazardous waste spreading into the environment at landfills.


How do I get rid of my sharps containers when its full?

Local council have their own needle exchange program that allow residents within their municipality to return filled sharps containers.

Filled sharps containers can also be returned to pharmacies that participate in the Needle Exchange Program.

Health care providers and other businesses that generate sharps waste need to engage with licensed contractors who specifically manage medical waste according to Australian laws and regulations. In choosing between waste disposal services providers, you can also seek out a reputable waste management company that will sterilise and dispose of the sharps waste according to legislative requirements and with a low environmental footprint.


How do I get a new sharps container?

If you need a reliable solution for medical waste disposal, Plascare offers a broad range of solutions to help your facilities achieve the highest standards of safety and hygiene. With over 30 years of experience dealing with medical waste management, we are efficient and responsive to the needs of our customers.

We provide high quality biomedical waste containers to leading experts in the healthcare industry for managing harmful medical waste in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective way. Contact us to learn more about our services and high-quality clinical waste containers.


Are sharps containers reusable?

While most sharps containers are single use, there are some sharps containers that are reusable. This involves special containers that allow contents to be unlocked and disposed of separately, and the containers are steam cleaned and reassembled for use.

Disposable sharps containers are destroyed along with their contents which are discarded. This usually involves incineration. For every disposable container that is used, another new container must be manufactured as a replacement. The destroyed sharps containers will end up in landfill.


Are sharps containers recyclable?

While it may be possible to recycle plastic sharps containers, in reality it is not feasible option. The process of removing sharps from disposable sharps containers and sterilising the plastics requires far more energy and resources than incineration.


What’s the difference between yellow and purple sharps containers?

Yellow sharps containers are for the storage and disposal of biohazardous sharps waste such as needles used to give injections or pipettes used in laboratories. These sharps containers are marked with the biohazard symbol.

Purple sharps containers are for the storage and disposal of cytotoxic sharps typically used in medicines for the treatment for cancer. For example, needles or syringes used to treat patients with cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs would need to be disposed into a sharps container with a purple lid. These sharps containers are marked with the cytotoxic waste symbol.


Can you dispose of razors in sharps containers?

Razor blades can go in sharps containers and disposed of with medical sharps. Never dispose of medical sharps in the landfill or recycling cart – they must be taken to special sharps locations in sharps containers.


What can and can’t you dispose of in a sharps containers?

Sharps disposal containers can be used to dispose of any object with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin, such as needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors, infusion sets, and connection needles. 

Non-sharp biohazardous waste such as the syringe barrel, or caps and gloves, can be disposed in clinical waste liners. Proper waste segregation ensures that only biohazardous sharps waste is disposed in sharps containers and processed accordingly.


What are the requirements for sharps containers in Australia?

Single use sharps containers must comply with AS4031/92 which stipulates the integrity of the container, the appropriate labelling and strength of the unit to withstand any accidental spillages.


Should you recap needles before disposing into sharps container?

No, dispose of used needles straight into the sharps container, do not attempt to recap needles prior to disposal as this increases the risk of needle stick injuries.


What are the regulations regarding sharps containers in Australia?

Generators of community sharps should place them into an appropriate container prior to disposal to a community sharps disposal facility, unless placed in single syringe disposal units.

The Australian Standard applying to personal use containers is AS 4939–2001: Non-reusable personal use containers for the collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and syringes.


Do sharps containers need to be wall mounted?

Sharps containers should be situated in a safe and secure place and not accessible to patients or visitors. In rooms or areas where sharps containers do not need to be moved, they should be wall-mounted near the point of use, that is, where the sharp is used. At no time should a sharps container be placed on the floor.


Which sharps container can I use for my diabetic needs?

The SharpSafe sharps container range from Plascare Australia includes a 0.6 litre plastic container with a petal opening. This provides an extra layer of protection by preventing any accidental sharps exposure. It is also lightweight and has a side handle for easy transportation. The final closure feature does not enable the container to be re-opened and therefore eliminates any further sharps exposure.


What is the Protective Access lid for SharpSafe sharps container products?

Protected Access allows easy disposal of sharps but provides added security for both the user and the general public. The wide horizontal aperture ensures easy disposal of large items and allows proportionally greater fill than similar vertical feed type openings.