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Safe Needle Disposal

Getting rid of needles safely

​​We all need to do our part to keep our communities clean and safe. This means getting rid of needles and needle waste properly.

If you find a needle, treat it like it was used and that it could harm you.

Don’t put the cap back on the needle.

Don’t snap, take off, or bend the needle tip.

Don’t flush a needle down the toilet.

Don’t put a needle in the garbage or recycling.

Teach children to not touch a needle and to call an adult for help if they find one. Adults can pick up needles by following the steps below or call their town or city office for help.

Steps to get rid of needles safely

  1. Put on latex, rubber, or leather gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Use tongs, pliers, or tweezers to carefully pick up the needle by the plastic end. Don’t pick it up by the sharp, metal tip and keep the tip pointed away from you at all times.
  3. Put the needle into a sharps container with the tip pointing down. If you don’t have a sharps container:
    • Put the needle in a container with a lid you can close tightly​.
    • Use a container that won’t break or get a hole easily, such as a thick plastic bottle or tin can.
    • Close the container tightly.
  4. Clean and disinfect the tool you used to pick up the needle with, if you want to keep it. If you don’t want to keep the tool, put it in the sharps container or other container that won’t break or get a hole in it.
  5. Take off your gloves and throw them out. If you used leather gloves, clean and disinfect them.
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  7. Drop off the container at a needle disposal location (a place that gets rid of needles safely). You can also call your town or city office to find out where to drop it off or if someone can pick it up.

Other tips

If you find a needle and can’t get rid of it safely, please call your town or city office to report it. Some cities have programs that look for and pick up used needles.

If you accidently poke yourself with a needle​ you find, call Health Link at 811 to find out what to do next.

Current as of: April 21, 2021

Author: Provincial Harm Reduction Services Team