The Safe Needle Disposal Guide
The Safe Needle Disposal Guide provides important information on safe needle disposal practices. Needles and needle debris are a challenging issue for the community of Prince George. Needles are used by people with specific health conditions and people with specific addictions. Ensuring people who use needles can access safe disposal and that stray needles and needle debris in the community are dealt with promptly and safely are among the City's goals. Other objectives include:
- Raising community awareness about needle safety.
- Reducing the number of discarded needles on city streets.
- Reducing the risk and prevent injury to the public - especially children - who find discarded needles.
- Providing options for safe disposal of needles where the need exists.
Download the Safe Needle Disposal Guide [PDF]
Why Needles are Sometimes Discarded
Needles are used for many different purposes:
- Diabetics may use needles to inject insulin.
- Individuals with cancer, arthritis, or other painful conditions may inject drugs for pain control.
- Individuals with a drug addiction may use needles.
Needles are often thrown into garbage bins or on the ground if there is no easy way to get rid of them safely. However, they are also more likely to be disposed of in a proper manner when safe options are available.
Finding a Discarded Needle
NOTE: Children must be cautioned to contact an adult for help if they come across a needle.
- Use a pair of tongs or pliers to pick up the stray needle. Wearing rubber gloves is also advised.
- Grab the needle by the plastic barrel at the opposite end from the needle tip. Point the needle tip down and away.
IMPORTANT: Do not try to put the cap back on a needle.
- Place the needle in a strong plastic container, on a stable surface, and tightly tape the lid close. Use duct tape if possible. Examples of appropriate containers include:
- Bleach bottles with a screw-on lid.
- Thick plastic peanut butter jars.
Do not use glass jars, cardboard or light plastic containers. Glass can break and a needle can easily pierce light containers like milk jugs. Take the sealed container to Northern Health's Harm Reduction Clinic at 1108 Third Avenue or to a pharmacy that accepts needles.If there is a blue needle drop box nearby, place the needle into the drop box instead of a heavy plastic container. The City of Prince George has installed safe needle drop boxes in a number of locations throughout the community. These boxes are regularly emptied by City staff.
Download a map of the City's Blue Safe Needle Drop box locations [PDF]
Individuals who are not comfortable picking up needles or need more information may contact:
City of Prince George
1100 Patricia Boulevard
Prince George, BC V2N 3V9
Needles may also be reported online.
Learn how to submit an online form to report needles
When to Call for Help
- If there are multiple needles in a pile.
- If there are needles broken into several pieces.
- If there is no way to put a needle in a strong plastic container for transport to a safe place.
- If there is no desire to handle the needle out of fear or nervousness.
Finding Needle Clean-up Supplies
Northern Health’s Harm Reduction Clinic supplies sharps containers for needles. The Clinic may be contacted at:
1108 Third Avenue
Prince George, BC V2L 3E5
Tongs and gloves may be purchased at a variety of local stores. Needles may also be collect in strong plastic containers that have tight-fitting screw-on lids.
Finding More Needles Discarded in the Same Location
Discovering discarded needles on multiple occasions at the same location may require the installation of a new drop box to make it easier for safe needle disposal. Businesses that would like to have an outdoor safe needle drop box installed may contact the City of Prince George for more information.