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Currents - A complete archive of the City's newsletter.

What to do with syringes

Post Date:01/22/2019 11:37 am

Unfortunately, it is becoming a reality of life that we will come across improperly disposed of syringes, needles, or lancets (also referred to as sharps) from time to time. However, it is both possible and easy to properly and safely dispose of these using tongs, a puncture proof container, gloved hands, and hand sanitizer.

Public Property

If you find sharps on public property, call Shoreline’s Customer Response Team at (206) 801-2700.

Private Property

If you find sharps on private property, the City cannot enter the private property to clean it up. You will need to follow the steps below to safely dispose of the sharps:

  • If you find a syringe or needle, do not pick it up with your bare hands. Use a glove and either tongs, a shovel, or a broom and dustpan to pick it up.
  • Always place used sharps in a safe container. This can be a manufactured sharps container or a sturdy plastic bottle such as liquid detergent or bleach bottle. You can purchase manufactured sharps containers at most pharmacies. Whether you use a sharps container or another sturdy bottle, make sure the lid fits tightly, then tape it shut for added safety. If you use something other than a commercial sharps bottle, label it with the warning: "SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE."
  • Do not break the needle off from the syringe. Needles can carry HIV, hepatitis and other germs.
  • Please, do not flush needles or syringes down the toilet!
  • Once the sharp is safely contained, you can take it to the Shoreline Recycling & Transfer Station, located at 2300 N 165th Street. There is no charge for this disposal service.

To watch a video on how to safely handle sharps, you can visit

The opioid epidemic currently plaguing the nation is also impacting Shoreline. In addition to the severe impacts addiction has on individuals and their families, one of the community impacts is the refuse from lives turned upside down. We are working with our community partners to identify what services and processes exist to connect people experiencing opioid addiction with supportive services and identify gaps that may exist. We are also looking at ways to further help the community clean up the physical refuse of the epidemic.

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