A SCHEME introduced to encourage drug-users to dispose of their needles safely is proving a success.
The `Bin the Pin' scheme was introduced by Kirklees Council Strategic Waste seven years ago to combat the problem of needles being discarded in the streets.
Since then 34 of the grey, pillar-box shaped containers have been placed across Kirklees, 15 of them in Huddersfield.
The bins are collected by the council's clinical waste service, operated from the Dewsbury depot, and emptied on a weekly to fortnightly basis, depending on need.
The bins are secure and can be used 24-hours a day. They cost £500 each, plus the cost of having them emptied.
The progress of the scheme was reported to councillors by John Beckett, area manager of strategic waste, at the Huddersfield Town Hall meeting.
He said: "The scheme has been successful and we are now looking to replace the bins, which are looking shabby, and re-distribute them to the areas where they have been placed.
"We have undergone a lot of public consultation about the bins, because lots of people have expressed concern about having needle disposal bins in residential areas. The perception is that they encourage drug users.
"However, we have placed them in appropriate locations to target the problem effectively. The problem has not gone away, and we still collect a lot of needles that are discarded in places like the town centre, shop doorways and children's play areas - this will never stop.
"But the scheme does help. If we have only two needles placed in a bin, that's two fewer on the street and this could prevent a child from being injured."
Needles found on the street are disposed of by the clinical waste service, which responds to calls from people who find them, either that same day or first thing the next morning.
If they are found in high-risk areas, such as playgrounds, they are collected as soon as possible.
Mr Beckett said the scheme will continue to move forward. Leaflets will be produced to target drug-users more effectively and make them aware of where they can dispose of their needles.
He said: "Some users are responsible and dispose of their needles safely with schemes like Lifeline and at pharmacies.
"However, there are irresponsible drug users out there who throw their needles anywhere.
"We are targeting these kinds of people by letting them know where they can dispose of their needles safely.
The leaflets will be given to Lifeline, who will distribute them to target areas.
They may also be available from council information offices.