Just like you should clean out your own medicine cabinet occasion-ally, medicines for your hog herd can expire and need to be pitched. This also applies to empty medicine bottles, as well as used syringes and needles. But what’s the right way to dispose of these items to ensure environmental safety and responsibility?

John Carr, DVM, Iowa State University, offers the following disposal recommendations to fulfil health and safety requirements.

Needles:

1.  All needles and scalpel blades must be disposed of in a “sharps container.” This should be located in the medicine storage area. It could be something as simple as an empty coffee can or milk jug, however, it needs to have a lid. You also can get sharps bins from a veterinarian.

2.  Once full, you can return the sharps bin to the veterinary practice. However, it must be sealed with the name of the farm clearly labeled on the side. If you create your own storage device, you have to make the appropriate arrangements for its pick up and disposal.

3.  No plastics (including syringes) or glass should be placed in the sharps container.

Syringes:

1.  Dispose of all used syringes by placing them in a plastic bag hung in the medicine storage area. The bag should be clearly labeled: “used syringes only.”

2.  Used or expired plastic medicine bottles can be disposed of through the used-syringe bag.

3.  Do not place needles or glass in the used-syringe bag.

4.  You can dispose of the bag through your veterinarian as well.

5.  Plastic syringe cases can be disposed of through the routine refuse collection service.

Medicine bottles:

1.  Provide a separate plastic bag labeled “medicine bottles” for disposal of all used and expired glass medicine bottles.

2.  Do not place needles or syringes in this bag.

3.  Bottles of prostaglan-din – Planate, Lutalyse or Estrumate – must be returned to the veterinary practice separately. Do not put them through the routine glass disposal system.

4.  You can dispose of the medicine-bottle bag through your veterinarian’s practice.