The City of Guelph and its local health unit are teaming up with a health organization to install seven needle disposal boxes around the downtown core.
The hope for the new boxes is to help people get rid of used needles properly, which will ultimately keep people safe and save some money.
The city and public health will work with HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health (ARCH) to set up the boxes in the following locations:
- Royal City Mission — 50 Quebec St.
- Goldie Mill Ruins — 75 Cardigan St.
- Guelph Central Station — 79 Carden St.
- Wellington Plaza — 86 Wellington St. E.
- Royal City Park — 139 Gordon St.
- Royal Recreation Trail at Eramosa Road and Woolwich Street
- Marianne’s Park — 176 Gordon St.
These locations were chosen based on where used needles are frequently found.
The boxes are designed like mailboxes so they are tamper-proof and the needles can’t be reached or removed by the public once they are placed in there.
The city said its workers are usually the ones who find used needles scattered around the downtown core and in the city’s parks.
The other issue is staff finding them as they sort through household waste collected at the curb. ARCH also gets about 60 reports of needles found in public spaces each year.
Improper disposal of the needles actually costs the city, too. They say it’s about $10,000 a year due to emergency shutdowns of sorting lines and lost revenues when a needle contaminates sellable recyclables.
ARCH spends about $2,000 a year for public pickups and that does not include the cost of disposal, equipment or staff and volunteer training.
The seven new boxes are in addition to the three that are already in place at ARCH’s office on Westmount Road, public health’s office on Chancellors Way and the Guelph Community Centre on Wyndham Street.
Anyone who finds a needle on the ground can still call ARCH at 519-240-4098. They do needle pickups Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The city is also reminding the community that used needles are considered hazardous waste. They should never be placed in blue, green or grey carts, or public garbage bins, or put down toilets, drains or sewers.
More information proper disposal can be found on the city’s website.
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