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 Health District. 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.

If you are cleaning up used needles, please make sure to have the proper equipment to keep you safe.  The kits provided by the Snohomish Health District include a sharps container, heavy-duty gloves, safety glasses, tongs, hand sanitizer, and simple instructions for safe collection.

There are now six locations where free clean-up kits can be picked up during normal business hours (still open in light of COVID-19):

These locations that normally provide free needle clean-up kits are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19:

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

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 Health District, approved sharps containers with the Snohomish Overdose Prevention stickers can be returned to the following locations during normal business hours (still open in light of COVID-19):

Airport Road Recycling & Transfer Station10700 Minuteman Drive, Everett, WA 98204 – (425) 388-3425
North County Recycling & Transfer Station19600 63rd Avenue Northeast, Arlington, WA 98223 – (425) 388-3425
Southwest Recycling & Transfer Station21311 61st Place West, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 – (425) 388-3425
Monroe Police Department818 West Main Street, Monroe, WA 98272 – (360) 794-6300

These locations that normally accept used needle clean-up kits from the public are currently closed due to COVID-19:

Snohomish Health District –  3020 Rucker Avenue, Suite 104, Everett, WA 98201 – (425) 339-5200

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

This 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.