Sustainable Design, Planning & Building AwardExcellence in the Environment Awards Community Sharps Project Nicole Buhagiar
Objectives • Committed to maintaining a safe, clean environment for community • To reduce the number of syringes found in council’s parks & gutters throughout the LGA • Avoid hazardous waste entering the waste stream, including recycling & or garden waste services • Minimise the risk to workers/sorters at the Material Recovery Facilities (M.R.F’s)
Waste Service • Council’s waste service includes: • 120 ltr Domestic bin • 240 ltr Recycling bin • 240 ltr Garden Waste bin
Rationale • Project was influenced by a general concern from the community to ensure: - that council provide adequate medical waste disposal options for those in need - that council respond quickly to hazardous waste carelessly disposed of in gutters & parks • Concerns were also raised from recycling processors that medical waste was filtering into recycling bins creating OH&S issues at their plants
Rationale (Cont) • An education campaign instigated in response to these claims. Council recognised that Diabetes Australia had for many years informed its clients that used syringes, lancets & pen needles could be disposed of through the “rubbish” bin. • This created additional concerns for council as residents learnt to differentiate between rubbish & recycling services
Rationale (Cont) • Council has an established Sharps Disposal Scheme in partnership with local chemists and the community. This partnership has been extended to include the Wentworth Area Health Service providing opportunity to expand the current level of service to residents.
Implementation • Recognize key stakeholders; -residents diagnosed with medical conditions requiring “at home” treatment & their families -local pharmacies -Wentworth Area Health • Council’s medical waste service includes: - 12 pharmacies across the LGA. Sharps containers are provided to each pharmacy and are emptied monthly (or as required) by Clinical Waste Australia and paid by council
Implementation • 2 Community Sharps Disposal bins These bins provide residents to comfortably dispose of medical waste in a private environment
Implementation (cont) • Increased the awareness of community to dispose of medical waste appropriately by distributing brochures, promoting through council’s Annual Reports and Quarterly Magazines to all 59,000 households. Information available on council’s website. • Program is linked to Council’s City Plan and our commitment to support the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy (2003)
Achievements • Council has achieved a zero tolerance of medical waste found in recycling and garden waste streams in the last two years. • Residents pro-actively advise council when they have medical waste, keen to dispose of properly • Community Sharps bins have enabled residents to dispose of medical waste in a private environment. • Intend to further expand the program by providing another 2 Community Sharps Disposal bins in prominent positions. • No community backlash to the bins
Challenges • Insist on disposal of medical waste appropriately by all residents • Community Sharps bins do not become a haven for dumped rubbish. • Provide clean product to end users.
Conclusion • Council believes that the initial consultation with the community, local businesses and Area Health Services paved the way for a successful medical waste disposal scheme in Bankstown.