Algoma Public Health

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A reminder on the safe disposal of needles

Fri, Apr 14, 2023

(Joint news release from Algoma Public Health and the City of Sault Ste. Marie)

Spring has arrived and with the melting snow, Algoma Public Health and the City of Sault Ste. Marie are reminding residents how to dispose of needles safely, in case they are found on the ground in public spaces. 


The use of clean needles is an important harm reduction strategy to curb the spread of blood-borne diseases in the community.  Bins are located across Algoma to help ensure that used equipment is disposed of safely. However, if needles are found on public property, citizens may call the Public Works and Engineering Department at 705-759-5201 to arrange for pickup and proper disposal by City staff.

“Sharps (needles) mainly pose a risk of physical harm and it is important to dispose of them safely," says Jon Bouma, Manager of Infectious Disease at Algoma Public Health.  “While the risk of any exposure to blood-borne infections is low, it’s also important to see a healthcare provider to be assessed for any needlestick injuries.” 

In addition, Algoma Public Health encourages kindness and compassion towards all residents of Algoma.  “Substance use is complex, and we urge our community to support people who use drugs by recognizing the important role of harm reduction.”  For more information about mental health and addiction support services in Algoma, visit Algoma Public Health’s service guide.


How to dispose of needles safely:

If you find a needle on your property, use a pair of tongs, pliers, or tweezers to pick up the needle with the needle pointing down and away from you. Place the needle in a hard plastic container, like a coffee container or disposable water bottle that you can close tightly.

These containers can be dropped off at a needle drop bin located:

  • outside the John Howard Society (27 King St)
  • corner of Gore/Albert Street (138 Gore St)
  • outside the Soup Kitchen (172 James Street)
  • outside the City Bus Terminal (160 Queen Street)
  • outside Algoma Public Health (294 Willow Avenue)
  • outside of Pauline’s Place (South side of building - 235 Wellington St W) NEW
  • outside of Group Health Centre (East side of building - 240 McNabb St) NEW
  • outside of the Verdi Hall Temporary Shelter (West side of building - 455 Queen St W)
  • parking lot between Group Health Centre and the new shelter at the former Sacred Heart School (170 East St)

Find needle drop bins in Elliot Lake and Blind River.

These bins help with safe needle disposal, divert sharps away from the city landfill and help protect public works staff who handle garbage.


In addition, needle containers can be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility at 402 Fifth Line East. The HHW opens April 18, Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Harm reduction programming in Algoma:

Algoma Public Health’s needle exchange program helps to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, and support people who use drugs through the supply of clean drug use equipment. The program is available Monday to Friday 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Canadian Mental Health Association at 386 Queen Street, in addition to Algoma Public Health locations across Algoma.