Thunder Bay·Audio

Discarded needle disposal tips: 5 ways to stay safe

Melting snow uncovers more than just pavement, so the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy is offering tips on dealing with stray syringes

The Thunder Bay Drug Strategy offers pointers on dealing with stray syringes

The Thunder Bay Drug Strategy recommends calling Superior Points to dispose of discarded needles. (Liam Maloney/CBC)
When you find more than dog poop and old coffee cups when the snow starts to melt. Anne Ostrom explains what to do if you come across discarded needles in your neighbourhood.

Melting snow can reveal more than just long-forgotten patches of lawn and pavement.  It can also uncover safety hazards such as discarded needles.

The Thunder Bay Drug Strategy recommends that residents call Superior Points to pick up stray syringes at 625-8831 or 625-7996.

However, if you choose to dispose of a needle yourself, here are the Drug Strategy's tips on how to do it:

  1. Use tongs or pliers to pick needles up.
  2. Store the needles in a hard plastic container with a lid, such as an empty peanut butter jar.
  3. Mark the container with the word "needle."
  4. Containers can be dropped off at Elevate NWO, Shelter House or the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, or you can call Superior Points at 625-8831 to have the container picked up.
  5. Single needles can be dropped into any of the yellow metal disposal bins found in various locations throughout the city. For locations, visit the Thunder Bay District Health Unit web site and click on "sexual health," then "needle exchange."

Needle disposal kits – containing tongs, a plastic container, rubber gloves, and instructions – are available through the health unit or Superior Points or at Shelter House and Elevate NWO. 

"The risk of picking up an infection from a publicly-discarded needle is remote," said Roger Prasad, manager of sexual health and clinical programs at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

"However we advise everyone to handle sharps with care."

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