During the course of my work for Eat Ballard, I have had the privilege to know Danelle, the long-time manager of Red Mill Totem House. Danelle has pep in her step, no BS! Always with a smile, she is a proud mother and wife, a radiant soul who loves Ballard. I dropped by to see Danelle last Fall when she was six months pregnant and still running the show at Red Mill. She fed me, donated gift cards for local raffle and we chatted. The subject came up and I learned that Danelle had been taking it on herself to pick up dirty hypodermic needles left around the outside of Ballard Locks, 7-Eleven and up to the Senior Center. This is a scene repeated daily across Seattle, so I dug into it. I followed up with the North Precinct and various city departments who referred me back and forth; I also spoke with Swedish Hospital. Here are the recommended steps to avoid accidental jabs or infection while disposing sharp medical waste like needles: 1. Wear gloves. 2. Set down an empty plastic bottle with top off (Clorox bottle works well for big jobs). 3. Pick up syringe(s) with grabber and drop into bottle with sharp end pointed towards the bottom. 4. Screw top on bottle and tape top shut. 5. Dispose in garbage. It's sad to see people suffering the consequences of drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness on the streets of Seattle. At the same time, there is no circumstance under which leaving needles on the ground for someone else to step on or clean up is acceptable social behavior. If the unfortunate job of cleaning up needles falls on you, then I hope this information is helpful.
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