Safe Disposal of Needles

Anyone who uses a needle to inject should dispose of it safely. However, sometimes discarded needles are found in public areas. Safe disposal of needles saves others from getting hurt accidentally. Fortunately, the risk of being infected by an accidental needle stick is rare.

Safe Needle Disposal

If you find an improperly discarded needle, here’s how to dispose of it safely:

  • stay calm
  • don't try to replace the cap on needles
  • don't snap, break or bend needles
  • pick up needle with care, use work gloves if desired
  • hold needle point away from you
  • put needle in a metal or hard plastic container with a lid (i.e. product or drink bottle)
  • replace cap on container securely and label it
  • wash hands with soap and water
  • drop off the sealed container
    • community drop box - call your municipality about locations in your area
    • participating pharmacy
    • dispose of the sealed container in a nearby waste bin
    • your local public health unit

Other locations for drop-off and harm reduction supply distribution can be found at towardtheheart.com.


What to do if you are pricked by a needle

Getting poked by a needle can be scary. Fortunately, the risk of infection from an accidental needle stick is rare.

If someone is injured by a discarded needle, stay calm.

Take reasonable care and follow these steps:

  • wash the injured area with soap and warm water as soon as possible
  • apply an antiseptic and a clean bandage
  • dispose of the needle safely
  • visit your local emergency department or primary care provider, preferably within 24 hours
  • call 8-1-1 for advice 24/7

For more information call the Communicable Disease program at Island Health (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.):

  • South Island: 1-866-665-6626
  • Central Island: 1-866-770-7798
  • North Island: 1-877-887-8835

Resources

Needle Disposal

Safe Sharps Disposal
Needle Disposal Sites - Vancouver Island (map) 
Needle Collection - Victoria (map)
Needle Collection & Distribution in Downtown Victoria (2019)
Needle Disposal Rack Card

Harm Reduction

This page explains what to do if you find a syringe or a needle and focuses on safe sharps disposal.