Safe Disposal of Needles and Other Sharps


Anyone who uses a needle to inject should dispose of it safely. However, sometimes discarded needles or other "sharps" (i.e. syringes, blades or glass) are found in public areas. Safe disposal of needles and other sharps saves others from getting hurt accidentally. Fortunately, the risk of getting sick if you are pricked is very low.

How to safely dispose of a needle 

  • Don't try to replace the cap on needles
  • Don't snap, break or bend needles or other sharps
  • Pick up needle with care using work gloves and tongs or tweezers
  • 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
  • Remove gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • Drop off the sealed container at your local public health unit or at a community drop box

Call your municipality to find out if community drop boxes are accessible in your area. Other locations for drop-off and harm reduction supply distribution can be found at towardtheheart.com.

Needle Disposal Sites - Cowichan Valley (map)
Needle Disposal Sites - Victoria (map)
Needle Disposal Sites - Nanaimo (map)

What to do if you are pricked by a needle 

Please take the following steps:

    • Allow wound to bleed freely
    • Quickly wash the injured area with soap and warm water
    • Do not squeeze or bleach the injured area
    • Immediately call the Communicable Disease program at Island Health (8:30 AM–4:30 PM):
        • South Island: 1-866-665-6626
        • Central Island: 1-866-770-7798
        • North Island: 1-877-887-8835
    • Visit your local emergency department within two hours for treatment and follow-up