No needles in recycling please

18 June 2015

Sharp objects such as needles are being put into some recycling creating a dangerous risk to the recycling team.

Sorting our recycling by hand

Here in Wellington our recycling is sorted by hand, lately there have been cases of sharp and dangerous items finding their way on to the sorting line. Needles or “sharps” are particularly dangerous to the recycling team as they pose a serious health risk, potentially spreading infectious blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.

“We’ve found uncontained needles when collecting recycling kerb-side and when sorting recycling,” says the Council’s Waste Operations Manager, Adrian Mitchell. “Both our collection and sorting staff are trained to be constantly on the look-out for dangerous items, however with the large amount of recycling we are collecting and sorting through this continues to pose a very real risk to these teams.”

All needles need to be disposed of safely and people who receive medication at home can conveniently dispose their used sharps at 92 pharmacies across the greater Wellington region, which are then collected by a medical waste disposal company.

Before you throw something in your green bag or bin, check it’s clean, not sharp and is recyclable.

You can find a list of recyclable material at