Hundreds of needles found at a Clark County Recycling Center - KPTV - FOX 12

Hundreds of needles found at a Clark County Recycling Center

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

Plastics, cans and newspapers - they're typically what you find in a recycle bin - but needles?

Workers across the region say they've seen an increase in the number of needles getting mixed with recyclables, and some have even been pricked.

At the Clark County Recovery Center in Vancouver, a steady stream of recyclables come through every day. Most of it is hand sorted, so when workers found needles in the mix, they became very concerned.

The facility manager says they got as many as 1,500 needles in October.

"It's obviously a health concern for the workers on the sort line. They do sometimes get stuck with the needles. It's also an efficiency issue for us. We have to shut down the entire line and make sure that it's clear and make sure all the needles are all out, so it really does slow down the process," Waste Reduction Specialist Terra Heilman said.

Heilman tells us about a dozen workers have been getting pricked with the needles every month. All have been sent to undergo a blood test to make sure no diseases were transferred, and luckily, so far none have.

Still, she says it's concerning because they don't know why the numbers have increased, and it's affecting transfer stations all across the region.

She's reminding people that needles are not recyclable and have to be disposed of properly.

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