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Beware of needles on the ground after the snow melts

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring has arrived and Algoma Public Health (APH) and the City of Sault Ste. Marie would like to remind residents to be careful if they come across discarded needles. For the most part, people who use needles take steps to dispose of them properly. However, as the snow melts, you may find needles on the ground.

"Sharps (needles) may pose a risk of physical harm or serious bloodborne infections if handled inappropriately," said Jon Bouma, Program Manager at Algoma Public Health. "It is important to pick up and dispose of them properly."

Here's how:
  1. Use a pair of long-handled pliers to pick up the needle, taking care not to put yourself at risk. It is best to wear rubber gloves.
  2. Pick the needle up by pointing the needle tip down and away from you.
  3. Put the needle in a hard plastic container (like an empty coffee can or hard plastic bottle) with a tight fitting lid and tape the lid closed.
  4. Do not touch the needle directly and do not recap, bend, break or remove the needle from a syringe.
  5. From April to October, people can drop off containers at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot located now at the Landfill Site at 402 Fifth Line East, Sault Ste. Marie. For the remainder of the year, hard plastic containers are accepted at most local pharmacies for disposal.
  6. An alternative option for needle disposal is to use the two Needle Drop Bins that are located in the downtown area that will allow for 24-hour disposal. The Needle Drop Bins provide an option for the public to safely drop off any used needles found in the community. Please use the instructions above and place only small hard plastic containers with lids in the Drop Bins. The Drop Bins are located at:
    • The southeast corner of Gore and Albert E, on Albert St. and
    • Outside of the John Howard Society on King St. in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Needle Drop Bins are part of a project supported by a partnership with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Group Health Centre and Algoma Public Health.

If needles are found on public property, residents may call Public Works and Engineering Services at 705-759-5201 to arrange for pickup and proper disposal by City staff.
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