Safe needle disposal

How to safely dispose of needles (syringes)

Home and property owners are responsible for picking-up and disposing of needles found on residential or commercial properties. Our Safe Needle Disposal Toolkit will provide you with all of the information required to safely pick-up and dispose of needles.

If you see a discarded needle, you can safely pick it up by following these steps:

  1. Wear disposable gloves and closed-toe shoes.
    • The gloves protect against fluid contamination, but will not protect against pokes or cuts.Wear disposable gloves.
  2. Find a hard, non-breakable, container that needles cannot poke through with a screw-on or tight fitting lid (examples: a pop bottle, a bleach bottle).
    • Do not use glass containers because they can easily break.
    • Do not use light plastic containers or a milk carton because the needles could poke through.Find a hard, non-breakable container with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Put the container on a stable surface next to the needle.
    • Do not hold the container in your hand when placing the needle inside.
  4. Use tongs or pliers to pick up the needle by the plastic end (not the sharp end) with the needle pointing away from your body.
    • Do not try to put the cap back on the needle.                                  Use tongs or pliers to pick up the needle by the plastic end.
  5. Place the needle, sharp end first, into your container. Do not force the needle into the container.Place the needle, sharp end first, into your container.
  6. Tightly seal the lid (use duct tape if you have it).
  7. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after removing the gloves.
  8. Label your container as “sharps” and store it far out of reach of children.Tightly seal the lid and label your container as "sharps".
  9. Take your container to a safe needle disposal location.
    • Sudbury & District Health Unit, 10 Elm Street, Unit 130 (in the Rainbow Centre)
    • Toxic Taxi (for pick up at your location), call 705.560.9019

For more information

If you are not comfortable picking up the needle and need more information, you can call:

Take It Back – Ontario Sharps Collection program

Some pharmacies are part of the “Take It Back” Ontario Sharps Collection program and might provide you with a sharps container free of charge. Search www.healthsteward.ca/returns/ontario for a list of participating pharmacies for your area.


This item was last modified on September 15, 2017