Willoughby City Council

Submission provided by: Tejinder Gill

Willoughby City Council Community Sharps Management Plan

Willoughby City Council is situated in Sydney's northern suburbs about 9 km from the Sydney GPO.
It covers an area of 23 Km2 and has an Estimated Residential Population of 71, 933 (2012).
Willoughby City is culturally diverse with 35% of people speaking a language other than English at home.

Concern

In 2006, it was estimated that there were 3,347 people with Diabetes living within the Willoughby LGA. This represented a 57% increase from 2001 numbers . Based on these figures, this relates to 292,000 syringes and pen needles generated by people with diabetes alone. When other health conditions requiring self-injection are taken into account, there are potentially a much higher number of sharps being generated within the community.

NSW Health estimates that around 50% of the needles and syringes used for self-injection
in NSW each year end up in local council waste and recycling services . Willoughby City Council (WCC) had been approached by recycling contractors in the area
regarding the problem of sharps in recycling and the possibility of developing a community sharps management plan.

Project description

The aim of this project was to develop a plan to address the above concerns. The plan includes:
• establishing collection points throughout the LGA for community members to dispose of their sharps appropriately
• the provision of sharps containers for personal use for self-injectors which can be disposed of at the established collection points
• establishment of a contractual arrangement with a disposal company
• development of a community education programme to raise awareness within the community of the correct disposal options for sharps and the problems created through incorrect disposal.

The objectives of the project are:
• To ensure the community has reasonable access to safe disposal options for sharps
• To publicise locations of community sharps collection locations within the LGA
• To raise awareness within the community of the problems associated with inappropriate sharps disposal
• To reduce the number of community sharps entering the general waste stream
• To make sharps containers for personal use more accessible to the community
• To minimise the potential for needlestick injuries due to incorrect disposal.

Project date:

Type of Project: Community sharps plan

Other organisations or people who collaborated

NSW Health, local Pharmacies, Council's Open Space staff.

In hindsight

Evaluation

Findings:

Effectiveness:

Additional collateral:

For more information please contact Tejinder Gill on 02 9777 7730

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