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SPU Sharps Collection: working to keep Seattle safe and clean

Seattle Public Utilities’ Sharps Collection Pilot Program provides safe disposal of “sharps” (needles, syringes, and lancets) from public property. Since the program began in August 2016, SPU inspectors have collected more than 10,000 sharps in the public right of way, and more than 100,000 needles have been disposed of in the City’s drop-off boxes since February 2017.

We’re working hard to make our city cleaner and safer, and you can help! Community members play a key role in making sure sharps are spotted, collected, and properly disposed of. Found a needle on the ground? Here’s what to do:

First, determine if it’s on public or private property.

(If you are unsure if the item you are reporting is on public property, call the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau, (206) 684-2489 (CITY), for more information.)

For sharps on public property:

For sharps on private property:

  • If you find a needle or syringe, do not pick it up with your bare hands. Use gloves, tongs, pliers, a shovel, or a broom and dustpan.
  • Place used sharps in a manufactured sharps container or a rigid plastic container, such as a juice bottle. Make sure to secure the lid tightly and tape it shut. If you use a plastic container, label it: “SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE.”
  • After you are finished, make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Wash the utensil you used to pick up the sharp with a cleaning solution like diluted bleach.
  • Sharps are not allowed in the garbage because they can injure collection workers, residents, and other employees who handle garbage.
  • Dispose of sharps at Seattle Public Utilities’ North or South Transfer Stations, or in any of the nine secure sharps disposal boxes located throughout the city.

Needle Disposal Training

Through SPU’s Sharps Collection Program, we provide training and education to other City departments, community groups, business improvement associations, and Seattle Public Schools. Below is a list of upcoming trainings open to the public:

  • Aurora Licton Urban Village Needle Disposal Training
    Monday, Sept. 24 at 1:30pm
    Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 6:00pm
    Epic Life Church: 10510 Stone Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133
  • Wallingford Community Training
    Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 6:00pm
    B.F. Day Elementary: 3921 Linden Ave. N

For more information, including demonstrations of how to report or safety dispose of sharps, check out our new sharps collection videos

Needle Disposal Trainings