Agricultural sharps (including needles, syringes, scalpel blades, etc.) are generated on livestock farms and are generally stored in sharps containers until a means of disposal is available. Across the province, disposal options are inconsistent and producers are asking- “What should I do with sharps”?
The health sector relies on the Nova Scotia Safe Sharps Bring-Back Program which is undertaken by a joint partnership of pharmacies, medical supply manufacturers, and medication distributers. Through this program, acceptable sharps containers (right) can be accessed from and returned to local pharmacies for disposal through Stericycle; however agricultural sharps are not technically accepted through this program.
Some veterinarians will accept sharps containers at their offices or even take them when they are out to the farm for a call; but this practice is not consistent across all regions.
Many municipalities will accept agricultural sharps at their respective solid waste facilities. Nova Scotia has 20 waste management facilities and just over half (12) of them accept agricultural sharps for disposal (see map on the next page). For producers outside of these areas, contacting Stericycle directly is the recommended option.
Acceptable containers MUST be:
• Clearly labelled “FARM SHARPS” or “FARM SHARPS – DISINFECTED”, if you have rinsed with sodium hypochlorite (bleach) prior to disposal
• Rigid, sealed, and puncture proof
• Separated from all other wastes
• Declared upon arrival at a disposal facility
The Environmental Farm Plan program has been delivering appropriate sharps containers to farmers for years. These containers (above) are always available at the office (7 Atlantic Central Drive, East Mountain) or can be delivered by a farm planner during your EFP update.
Please watch for a survey on sharps disposal practices to help us develop programming to ensure agricultural producers are able to safely dispose of sharps province-wide.