The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Waste collection worker injured by hypodermic needle in garbage bag

WHITBY, ON November 21, 2016

The Regional Municipality of Durham, Works Department would like to remind residents to keep the health and safety of waste collection operators in mind when they set out their waste for curbside collection.

“In the past six months, we have had two instances of waste collection operators being injured by a used hypodermic needle in a garbage bag,” says Craig Bartlett, Manager of Waste Operations. “This is a serious issue that affects the safety of not only workers, but also their families, by potentially exposing them to diseases such as hepatitis or HIV. We urge residents to safely dispose of used hypodermic needles by returning them to a local pharmacy, free of charge.”

Objects that can cut skin and come in contact with bodily fluids, such as hypodermic needles, syringes, EpiPens or lancets (also known as sharps)—must never be disposed of in the garbage or recycling. To properly dispose of these items:

The Region’s Waste Management By-law states that no owner/occupant shall set out or allow the set out of any waste that could pose a health and/or safety hazard to any person. Residents in contravention of this by-law will be subject to a fine. To learn more, visit

- 30 -

For more information, please contact Corporate Communications.