Cattle operations use a lot of needles whether they are for vaccinations or the administration of drug treatments. Disposing of needles continues to be an important safety issue for producers, their employees, veterinarians and the environment.

Some operations toss needles into a coffee can or other container and fill with cement. Some use commercial sharps containers. And some throw needles in the trash or a dumpster which can create hazards to humans, animals and the environment -- and in most states is illegal.

Last year the FDA created a website on sharps disposal for both in human and veterinary medicine, as well as by consumers for self-administration of medications, and livestock producers (see an article about it here). 

The website offers a do and don’t list for handling and disposing of sharps.

South Dakota State University also has information on disposal of sharps you can find here.

Next time you make a client visit take a look at their sharps disposal program and make sure they are complying with disposal regulations for your state, as well as keeping their own safety in mind.

Sharps disposal companies
Two companies that provide sharps disposal also work through the U.S. Postal System so containers can be sent through regular mail, which is helpful for those operations in more rural areas that may not have easy access to Fed/Ex or UPS. These companies are:

Each company has a variety of sharps disposal containers, programs, contracts and other services.