Safe disposal of needles and syringes

What to do if you find a needle or a syringe.

If it is on public space or land, please report it via our online form or to our Customer Contact Centre, with as much detail as possible about the location and what you have found. Do not touch or move the item.

Public space or land includes:

  • Roads and pavements
  • Bus stations
  • Car parks
  • Public parks, grass verges and other open spaces
  • Public toilets
  • School playgrounds

This includes:

  • Houses
  • Gardens
  • Private road
  • Private land

You should inform the owner immediately. They will need to arrange for it to be collected and disposed of.

  • Find a suitable container, for example, a metal tin, hard plastic tub, empty water or soft drink bottle, preferably with a lid. Do not use anything that could be easily pierced.
  • Wear heavy duty gloves and use tongs, pliers or tweezers to lift the object. Do not use scissors.
  • Pick up the needle or syringe at the end of the syringe plunger or barrel.
    Hold the tongs or pliers in one hand and place the container on a flat surface in a horizontal position then place the object sharp end first into the container. Turn the container upright and let the object drop inside. If the container has a cap, put it back on.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Take the sealed container to Waste Services, Cottage Beck Road, Scunthorpe, DN16 1TS where it will be properly disposed of free of charge. Monday to Thursday: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Friday 8.30am to 4pm. (01724 297848)

If the skin is broken contact your local doctor or contact the NHS on 111, 24 hours a day.

Encourage bleeding for a minute or two by pinching around the wound with your thumb and forefinger to push out any germs. Do not digest any of the fluid released.

If possible, note as much as you can about the syringe (if there is one), such as did it have fluid in it and if so what colour it was. If safe to do so, retain the syringe for examination by medical staff.

There is a low risk of getting a blood-borne infection from a needle injury, for example, HIV or Hepatitis. However, it is important to get immediate medical advice if you are injured by a needle.

If you use needles and injecting equipment these need to be disposed of safely.  A sharps container is available free via your doctor or district nurse. Please contact them for further details.

If you have any used needles such as those used for the administration of insulin for pets, they must be disposed of in appropriate “sharps” bins which, when full, can close to prevent injury occurring from handling the needles.  Your vet should accept needles and syringes at the practice or provide you with the appropriate containers.