The Whatcom County Health Department provides free clean-up kits for businesses and community members who wish to clean up and safely dispose of used needles found on private or public property. The kits contain safety equipment and instructions about how to safely handle needles. They can be picked up from the WCHD Communicable Disease Division at 1500 N. State Street during normal business hours.
Each kit contains a sharps disposal container, puncture-resistant gloves, safety glasses, tongs and simple instructions for safe collection. Full sharps containers can be returned to WCHD for appropriate disposal.
When cleaning up needles, you should take the following precautions:
· Do not allow children to handle needles. If children are participating in clean-up efforts, be
sure to have an adult handle the actual needle collection.
· Do not enter homeless encampments.
· Be sure to contact property owners before cleaning up debris on private property.
· If you have any safety concerns, contact WCHD’s Environmental Health Division (360-778-
6000) or your local law enforcement agency.
Used needles that are left behind are both a nuisance and a safety concern. Whether they’re used to inject medicines like insulin or for illegal drugs, used needles can spread diseases like Hepatitis C through accidental needle pokes. The risk of contracting a disease from a needle-stick injury is very low, but for anyone who encounters used needles, their risk can be reduced even further by using the right equipment and procedures.
This pilot program is intended for residents and business owners cleaning up used needles found in the community, not for businesses that generate used needles. Individuals using insulin shots or other similar uses should dispose of their used needles in sharps containers provided by local pharmacies or clinics.