Safe Sharps Handling and Disposal

Contact(s)

Knowing how to safely pick up and dispose of a sharp helps create safer spaces for everyone in our communities, including yourself, children and pets. It also helps to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

On This Page:

How do I pick up and dispose of a sharp safely?

 Get trained! Safe Sharps Handling and Disposal training is offered online at no cost for community members, organizations and workplaces. Register today.

1. Before you begin:

  • Always assume that blood and body fluids are infectious.
  • Never insert fingers or reach into a hard-sided puncture-proof container (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with a lid).
  • Cover cuts, rashes or broken skin.
  • Wear gloves when handling possibly contaminated blood or bodily fluids.
  • Do not eat or drink in an area where you are handling or disposing of sharps.
  • Do not recap, bend or break needles.
  • If you find unopened sharps or needles in the community, or unopened sharps mixed with other used drug equipment and sharps, do not sort through to pick out what is used and what is not. Since it may be difficult to determine which packages are opened, ripped or empty, it is suggested that all opened and unopened sharps, such as needles, be handled and discarded by following the instructions on this page.
  • Dispose of hard-sided puncture-proof containers (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with a lid) when the content reaches the full line.

2. Gather and prepare equipment.

Gather a hard-sided container (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with lid), puncture-proof or disposable gloves, and tongs. Place the container on flat, stable surface.

3. Pick up the sharp(s) and place it into a hard-sided container.

  • Put on puncture-proof or disposable gloves, if available.
  • Using tongs, pick up the sharps one at a time. If you do not have tongs, pick up the sharps one at a time by the shaft/barrel (if it is a needle). Keep your free hand out of the way 
  • Place sharp into the container with the sharp end pointing down.
  • Secure the lid of the hard-sided container (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with a lid).

4. Wash hands and clean equipment

  • Remove and dispose of gloves into the garbage.
  • If puncture-proof gloves or tongs were used, wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe and allow to air dry.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

5. Dispose of the sharp(s).

  • Place the container in a community sharps bin or bring it to a local needle syringe program or pharmacy (see below).

6. Report any minor malfunctions of sharps.

Video Tutorial

Video courtesy of Southwestern Public Health. See below for disposal options in the Nipissing and Parry Sound Districts. 

Picking up and Dropping Off Sharps Containers

Where can I pick up a hard-sided container?

You can get hard-sided containers from home (such as a pop bottle or laundry container with a lid), or pick up a free biohazard container from a participating pharmacy in the Nipissing or Parry Sound district (listed below). These pharmacies distribute biohazard containers to:

  • general community members
  • people using needles for diagnosed health issues (e.g., diabetes)
  • people using needles or drug equipment for substance use
  • community organizations and workplaces (e.g., warming centre, gas station, convenience store)

Please check with each pharmacy about the number of biohazard containers that can be picked up free-of-charge per visit.

Biohazard Container Pick-up Locations in the Parry Sound District

Ben’s Pharmacy
60 Bowes Street Unit 102
Parry Sound, ON
(705) 746-4811

 Biohazard Container Pick-up Locations in the Nipissing District

Canadian Addictions Treatment Pharmacy
456 Ferguson Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 472-4222

 

Harris Guardian Pharmacy
111 Main Street West
North Bay, ON

(705) 472-8280

 

North Bay Regional Pharmacy
50 College Drive
North Bay, ON

(705) 495-8117

 

Northern Lights Remedy Rx
1-12006 Highway 17 East
Sturgeon Falls, ON

(705) 753-0202

 

Rexall #34 Pharmacy
1205 Fisher Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 476-2307

 

Robinson’s Pharmasave
2547 Trout Lake Road
North Bay, ON

(705) 495-4515

 

Shoppers Drug Mart #664
267 Lakeshore Drive
North Bay, ON

(705) 476-3244


Shoppers Drug Mart #1247
66 Josephine Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 497-8542

Other pharmacies in the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts may also offer free biohazard containers.

Where can I dispose of sharps containers?

Sharps in hard-sided containers (e.g., biohazard container, pop bottle, laundry container with a lid) can be dropped off for disposal at a number of places across the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts. These include:

Sharps should not be discarded in the garbage or recycling bins. Do not flush sharps down the toilet, and keep sharps out of reach of children and pets.

Needle Syringe Programs

Needle syringe programs have been proven to reduce the spread of infection without increasing drug use. Needle syringe program sites provide safer drug use equipment and offer disposal of used needles and other biohazardous items (e.g., used glass pipes).

 Needle Syringe Programs in the Parry Sound District
Canadian Mental Health Association Muskoka- Parry Sound
26 James Street
Parry Sound, ON

(705) 746-4264

 

Canadian Mental Health Association Muskoka- Parry Sound
87 Main Street West
Sundridge, ON

(705) 384-5392

 

First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
74 James Street
Parry Sound, ON

(705) 746-5807

 

Henvey Inlet First Nation Health Centre
354A Pickerel River Rd
Pickerel, ON

705-857-1221

 

North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
70 Joseph Street
Parry Sound, ON

(705) 746-5801

 

Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre
32 James Street
Parry Sound, ON

(705) 774-9669

 Needle Syringe Programs in the Nipissing District
AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area
Suite 201 – 269 Main Street West
North Bay, ON

(705) 497-3560

 

Pharmasave Marshall Park Pharmacy
524 Lakeshore Drive
North Bay, ON

(705) 478-8079


North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
345 Oak Street West
North Bay, ON

(705) 474-1400

 

The Right Path Counselling and Prevention Services – Giyak Moseng
58 Semo Road
Sturgeon Falls, ON

(705) 753-3312


Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre
456 Ferguson Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 497-1620

 

West Nipissing General Hospital – The Alliance Centre
172 Ethel Street #3
Sturgeon Falls, ON

(705) 753-2271

Participating Pharmacies

The following pharmacies provide free disposal of used sharps. This includes returns by:

  • general community members
  • people using needles for diagnosed health issues (e.g., diabetes)
  • people using needles or drug equipment for substance use
  • community organizations and workplaces (e.g., warming centre, gas station, convenience store)
Sharps Container Disposal Pharmacy Locations in the Parry Sound District
 
Pharmacy
Maximum Quantity to Be Returned Per Visit
Type of Hard-Sided Container Returns Must Be In
Ben’s Pharmacy
60 Bowes Street Unit 102
Parry Sound, ON

(705) 746-4811

No limit

 

Biohazard container

 

 Sharps Container Disposal Pharmacy Locations in the Nipissing District
 
Pharmacy
Maximum Quantity to Be Returned Per Visit
Type of Hard-Sided Container Returns Must Be In
Canadian Addictions Treatment Pharmacy
456 Ferguson Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 472-4222

No limit

 Biohazard container

Harris Guardian Pharmacy
111 Main Street West
North Bay, ON

(705) 472-8280

No limit

 

  • Biohazard container
  • Other hard-sided container
Medical Pharmacy
133 Main Street West
North Bay, ON

(705) 472-8030

No limit

 

  • Biohazard container
  • Other hard-sided container
North Bay Regional Pharmacy
50 College Drive

(705) 495-8117

No limit – Within reason

  Biohazard container

Northern Lights Remedy Rx
1-12006 Highway 17 East
Sturgeon Falls, ON

(705) 753-0202

No limit

 Biohazard container

Mattawa IDA Pharmacy
300 Main Street
Mattawa, ON

(705) 744-5981

No limit

 

  • Biohazard container
  • Other hard-sided container
Rexall #34 Pharmacy
1205 Fisher Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 476-2307

No limit – Within reason

 Biohazard container

Robinson’s Pharmasave
2547 Trout Lake Road
North Bay, ON

(705) 495-4515

No limit

 

  • Biohazard container
  • Other hard-sided container
Shoppers Drug Mart #1247
66 Josephine Street
North Bay, ON

(705) 497-8542

No limit – Within reason

 

  • Biohazard container
  • Other hard-sided container
Shoppers Drug Mart #664
267 Lakeshore Drive
North Bay, ON

(705) 476-3244

No limit

 

  • Biohazard container
  • Other hard-sided container

Other pharmacies in the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts may also offer sharps disposal.

Hazardous Waste Depots

Some communities have hazardous waste depots that provide free disposal of used sharps for community members. Hazardous waste depots in our Health Unit region that offer this service include:

North Bay Hazardous Waste Depot
112 Patton Street, North Bay, ON

(705) 474-0400 ext. 2333

The MacFarlane Street Transfer Station at 57 MacFarlane Street, Parry Sound, accepts household hazardous waste year round from residents in the following townships:

  •  Archipelago
  • Carling
  • McDougall
  • McKellar 
  • Parry Sound
  • Seguin
  • Whitestone

For more information, contact the Transfer Station at (705)-746-2101.

Note: Hazardous waste depots do not accept biohazardous waste from commercial businesses, institutes, industries or any other establishment that is not considered a residential household.

Community Sharps Bins 

Side view of a community sharps binA community sharps bin is a large metal container that looks similar to a mailbox but is a specific colour, has a biohazard symbol on it and is labelled for sharps, including needle disposal. Community sharps bins provide 24 hours, 7 days a week access to safe sharps disposal. Bins are operational all year round, and offer greater accessibility for sharps disposal.

A biohazard bin is placed inside the locked, tamper-proof and child-proof bin. When the bin is full and needs to be replaced, the inner biohazard bin is removed from the container and exchanged with an empty one.

The following items can go in a community sharps bin:

Image of a biohazard container being dropped into a community sharps bin by someone wearing gloves.

  • All types of needles and syringes
  • Glass pipes
  • Glass bowls
  • Other loose sharps
  • Hard-sided containers containing any sharps

Please do not put garbage in the community sharps bin. This includes other substance use paraphernalia not listed above (e.g., tourniquets and wrappers). Please throw these items into the garbage can located near the bin.

 Community Sharps Bin Locations in the Parry Sound District
  •  Corner of Seguin Street and Gibson Street (near the public washrooms) in Parry Sound

Community Sharps Bin

 Community Sharps Bin Locations in the Nipissing District
North Bay
Community Sharps Bin
North Bay Community Counselling Centre
361 McIntyre Street East
North Bay, ON
AIDS Committee of North Bay & Area
147 McIntyre Street West
Suite 102
North Bay, ON
West Nipissing
  • Corner of Queen Street and Main Street in Sturgeon Falls
Bathroom Wall-mounted Sharps Containers

Biohazard waste containers can be found at a wide variety of locations, organizations and workplaces throughout the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts. These containers are often located in public washrooms and provide for safe disposal of individual/single sharps.

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808