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Disposing needles

disposing of needles safely

If you have cuts, sores, broken skin or skin conditions, you are at a higher risk. Ensure that you wear disposable gloves. Please follow these steps. If you can not, call the Fire Department at 403-264-1022. If you believe this is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Needles found on the street or in parks are considered biohazardous by Alberta Health Services. These needles may have been discarded by a street level IV drug user, who may carry infectious diseases due to a high risk lifestyle. To ensure diseases are not passed on to people who encounter discarded needles, the Fire Department will dispose of these needles. Call 9-1-1 and a fire truck will retrieve discarded needles for proper disposal.

Home injection needles or self-medicating needles are not considered biohazardous by Health Canada. These needles are used by diabetics and others to treat diseases under the guidance of a doctor. There is currently no bylaw against disposing of these needles in domestic trash pick-up, provided they are placed in a puncture resistent container with a secure lid to protect garbage collectors from injury.

How to properly dispose needles

  1. Put on disposable gloves.
  2. Never recap the needle.
  3. Place the approved puncture proof container on a flat surface near the needle. Open the lid and never hold the container while inserting the needle.
  4. Using tweezers, pliers or tongs pick up the needle by the plunger (never by the middle of the needle).
  5. Always hold the needle away from your body.
  6. Place the needle, sharp end first, into the container.
  7. Dispose of the tool or disinfect it with a bleach solution (1 part household bleach to 9 parts water) or with another disinfectant solution.
  8. Dispose of the gloves.
  9. Thoroughly wash your hands and other exposed skin with liquid soap immediately after step 8.
  10. Deliver the container to the Fire Department or call 403-264-1022 for pickup.
  11. Never put needles down toilets, drains or storm sewers.