A NSW Government website


Needle Cap Recycling Program

Recycling Plastic Needle Caps

Diverting clean plastic from landfill and giving it new life

Single use plastics are pervasive in healthcare. The waste hierarchy encourages us to first reduce our use however sometimes single use plastic is unavoidable when delivering healthcare. In these instances, and where it is safe to do so, we are working towards recycling.

All needles are protected by a small rigid plastic sheath to reduce the risk of needle stick injury. This plastic needle cap is uncontaminated, easy to separate and readily accepted for recycling.

Following the success of two pilot projects, HNELHD is looking to embed needle cap recycling into routine practice across a range of hospital and community-based services throughout the district.

In 2021, a pilot project at the Belmont Mass Vaccination Hub diverted 70kg of COVID-19 vaccine needle caps per month from landfill. HNELHD partnered with Allmould Plastics who re-processed the plastic needle caps into a range of building and engineering parts.

In 2023, a pilot project led by the Staff Health and Wellbeing Team diverted 35kg of plastic needle caps during the annual influenza vaccination campaign. HNELHD partnered with two local plastic manufacturers, DEEPS Engineering and Resourceful Living, who have capability to re-process the plastic needle caps into a range of products.

Healthcare Without Harm – Measuring and Reducing Plastics in the Healthcare Sector

NSW Circular – Plastics in Healthcare: The case for circularity