Modified: April 20, 2018 3:19pm
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date: April 20, 2018
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Help Spring Clean Your Community
Tomorrow is Spring Sweep 2018 at Locations throughout Erie County
ERIE COUNTY, NY—Each spring, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper coordinates the Spring Shoreline Sweep, the largest single-day shoreline cleanup in Western New York. Targeting shoreline sites, thousands of volunteers come out to engage in direct citizen action that makes our community a better place.
Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) encourages all residents to help make Erie County a cleaner and safer place to live by participating in group clean up events or taking the initiative individually to make our communities free of trash and debris.
“During their cleanup efforts, volunteers may find used hypodermic needles and syringes,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Department of Health. “These items pose a public health risk as they can possibly transmit serious diseases if a person is accidentally “stuck” or “poked.” We want to emphasize caution must be used when handling any “sharp” object, such as disposed needles.”
"The safety of our 2,000 dedicated volunteers is of the utmost priority to our organization", said Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. "Each year we host a mandatory training for all Site Captains on personal safety, which includes the identification and handling of potential harmful materials, including medical waste. We also provide guidance to all registered volunteers on proper handling of waste that is found along our waterways. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, this year all volunteers will be equipped with nitrile gloves to help with personal safety, and biological hazard disposal containers are available at every site. We look forward to another safe and successful Spring Shoreline Sweep."
Here are suggestions to properly handle discarded needles, syringes and other “sharps” (lancets, broken glass, etc.):
- If you find a syringe or needle, do not pick it up with your bare hands.
- Use a glove and tongs, shovel, or broom and dustpan to pick up a syringe or needle.
- Do not break needles off from syringes.
- Sharps that retract after use, or are very small, should be disposed of like all other sharps.
- Sharps should never be thrown loosely into the trash or toilet. Sharps should never be recycled.
- Place used sharps and syringes in a manufactured sharps container (available at ECDOH, Evergreen Health or commercial retailers) or a clean, leak-proof, shatter-proof, and puncture-proof container with a screw top such as a durable plastic bleach or laundry detergent bottle.
- Make sure the lid fits tightly and tape it shut. Labeled the container as “Sharps”, tape the top shut and dispose of the container appropriately.
- Sharps are not allowed in the garbage because they can injure garbage collection workers, individual residents, and employees that handle the garbage.
- Always use a designated sharps disposal container for used sharps.
- Disposal of containers containing sharps can be done at numerous locations throughout Erie County. To find your nearest disposal kiosk, visit www.thepointny.org.
- Evergreen Health’s Syringe Exchange Program provides safe disposal of used syringes
- If you know of an area where syringes and other equipment are frequently discarded, please contact ECDOH at 716.858.6147 to inquire about the installation of a secure disposal kiosk and/or a cleaning sweep from ECDOH or Evergreen Health.
For more information:
Erie County Syringe Disposal Sites brochure
www.ThePointNY.org to find a location near you for safe disposal