The Safe Needle Disposal Guide
The Safe Needle Disposal Guide provides important information on safe needle disposal practices. Please note: The information on this page is summarized. For more detailed information please refer to the Safe Needle Disposal Guide.
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 that people who use needles can access safe disposal, and that stray needles and needle debris in the community are dealt with promptly and safely is one of our goals.
- Raise community awareness about needle safety.
- Reduce the number of discarded needles on our streets.
- Reduce the risk and prevent injury to the public, especially children, who find discarded needles.
- Provide options for safe disposal of needles where the need exists.
Who are the partners?
- The City of Prince George
- Northern Health
why are needles sometimes discarded?
People use needles for many different purposes. For example:
- People with diabetes may use needles to inject insulin.
- People with cancer, arthritis or other painful conditions may inject drugs for pain control.
- Some people inject drugs because they have an addiction.
Everyone who uses needles needs a way to dispose of them safely after they have finished using them. Nobody intends to harm others by discarding their needles, but sometimes people put needles in the garbage or on the ground if they don’t see an easy way to get rid of them safely. Needles are more likely to be disposed of safely when safe options are easily available.
what should you do if you find a discarded needle?
You should leave the needle where it is. Call an adult for help.
If you see a needle, and you have appropriate equipment to handle it safely, you can pick it up so that a child does not get injured or poked. You can pick the needle up carefully by following these four steps or you can call for help (see below). You don’t need to be afraid if you’re cautious.
- Use a pair of tongs or pliers to pick up the needle. It is best to also wear rubber gloves.
Grasp the needle by the plastic barrel, at the opposite end from the needle tip. Point the needle tip down and away from yourself. IMPORTANT: Do not try to put the cap back on the needle.
Put the needle in a strong plastic container, on a stable surface, and tape the lid tightly closed (with duct tape, if you have it). Bleach bottles are good because they have a small opening and a screw-on lid. A thick plastic peanut butter jar will work. You shouldn’t use a glass jar or light plastic or a milk carton. Glass can break and needles easily poke through light plastic or milk cartons. Take the sealed container to Northern Health’s Harm Reduction Clinic at 1108 Third Avenue, or to a pharmacy that accepts needles. Note that most pharmacies only accept needles returned by their own customers.
- Or, if you see a blue needle drop box nearby, you can place the needle into the drop box instead of in a plastic container. The City of Prince George has installed safe needle drop boxes in a number of locations throughout the community. They have been painted blue for easy identification and are regularly emptied by City staff.
If you are not comfortable picking up the needle or need more information, you can call the City of Prince George at 250-561-7600 or complete the online I Want to Report a Needle form.
The items pictured are NOT sharps and may be disposed of in the garbage.
Only sharps, such as the needle shown, should be disposed of in a sharps container.
when should you call for help?
where can needle clean-up supplies be obtained?
what to do if you keep finding needles discarded in the same location?
If you are not comfortable picking up a needle or need more information, you can call the City of Prince George at 250-561-7600. You can report the needle for clean-up by City staff with the
I Want to Report a Needle form.
For more information on safe needle disposal please refer to the Safe Needle Disposal Guide .