For Needle Disposal

Used Needles Found on Public or Private Property

Used needles left in public and private places are both a nuisance and a potential 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. While the risk of contracting a disease from a needle-stick injury is very low, you can further reduce that risk by using the right equipment and procedures. It is also important to teach children to never pick up needles found on the ground and to report them to a trusted adult.

Since rolling out the free needle clean-up kit program in September 2017, over 800 kits have been distributed by the Snohomish County Health Department. These kits have ensured the safe and proper disposal of more than 10,000 syringes.  As a result of Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group efforts, the program is expanding to make it simpler and safer for residents and business owners to clean up and dispose of needles found in the community.

This program is intended for residents and business owners to clean up used needles found in the community, not for businesses or individuals that generate used needles. Insulin needles or other medical sharps should be disposed of in sharps containers provided by local pharmacies or clinics – click “See disposal locations”. Please note that Snohomish County residents cannot dispose of sharps in the trash and that Snohomish County Health Department does not accept insulin sharps.

If you are needing to exchange used needles for new ones, please go to the Snohomish County Syringe Services Program (  

If you are hosting a community clean up event and need two gallon sharps containers, please email with at least two weeks’ notice before your clean up event.

These are the locations where free clean-up kits can be picked up during normal business hours (please call ahead to ensure kits are available):

The City of Everett and the Snohomish County Health Department have developed a short video on how to safely collect and dispose of used needles.

What to do if you find a needle

Before you begin collecting, make sure you are wearing puncture-resistant gloves, protective eyewear, and closed-toe shoes. Never touch a needle with bare hands. Designate one person as a needle collector; others can scout and point out needles.

1. Take your kit to the needle, open the sharps container
2. Do not touch the syringe with your hands; use pliers, a grabber, or tongs
3. Pick up the syringe by the barrel or plunger, needle pointing away from you
4. Do not recap, break, bend or remove the needle from the syringe
5. Place syringe needle-first into container and seal container tightly
6. Never overfill your container and once full, seal the container
7. Be sure to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after you finish collecting
8. Dispose of the sharps container properly

Through a partnership with Snohomish County’s Solid Waste Division and the Snohomish County Health Department, approved sharps containers with the Snohomish Overdose Prevention stickers can be returned to the following locations during normal business hours:

Please note that milk jugs, soda bottles, and tin cans are not accepted sharps containers. As a reminder, it is unlawful to dispose of needles in solid waste containers in Snohomish County.

If you are not comfortable with handling the needle yourself, please call the county’s non-emergency number (425-407-3999) to report it and get the address of the nearest site with clean-up kits. If it is on someone else’s property, you may also notify the property owner of the needle location.