How to safely dispose of a syringe you find on the ground

syringe drop box under the Burnside Bridge

via Multnomah County Health

There are safe ways to dispose of syringes you find on the ground. Sharing injection drug equipment can transmit infections, but there is little risk to someone who is accidentally poked or scratched by a discarded syringe.

Below you'll find information on how to pick them up, where to drop them off, and ways to get involved in cleaning up your neighborhood.

How do I safely dispose of a syringe?

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to safely pick up and dispose of syringes

Step 1: Pick it up

Some people use a tissue or napkin to pick up a discarded syringe, while others feel more comfortable wearing gloves, like gardening or kitchen gloves. Some people also use tongs, pliers or a trash grabber. That’s a good idea for anyone who is going to pick up a lot of syringes or who is going on a community clean-up.

Step 2: Drop it in

  • Use a hard plastic container, such as a sharps container or 20-ounce water or juice bottle with a lid.

  • Set the container on the ground

  • Drop the syringes in, one at a time, needle point down.

Step 3: Seal it up

  • Close the container tight.
  • If you have a piece of tape you can seal the top
  • If you have a pen, you can write on the outside, “SHARPS. DO NOT RECYCLE.”

Step 4: Drop it off

It's against the law to throw syringes in the garbage, even if they are in a secure plastic container. Instead, drop the container in a nearby sharps box or take it to a Metro Household Hazardous Waste Facility:

  • The Healthy Streets bin on the west side Waterfront Esplanade, under the Burnside Bridge

  • The sharps box slot on the side of the storage container under the Steel Bridge

  • Lents Fire Station, 5707 SE 92nd Ave., Portland

  • St. John's Fire Station, 7205 North Alta St., Portland

  • Metro Central at 6161 NW 61st Ave, Portland (Metro only accepts sharps containers)

  • Metro South at 2001 Washington St, Oregon City (Metro only accepts sharps containers)

For more disposal options, or if you have questions about medical waste disposal, or find an illegal dump(link is external) on public property, contact Metro(link is external) at 503-234-3000.

If you find discarded syringes in Portland’s city center and don’t feel comfortable picking it up, call Downtown Clean & Safe(link is external) at 503-224-7383 to report the waste.

Continue reading on Multnomah County's website: /node/6861