On the heels of Earth Day celebrations, the NCDA&CS Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program has collected more than 4 million pounds of unused and unwanted pesticides. The program ensures these products are disposed of in a responsible and appropriate way.
- I’m gonna take a break from COVID-19 this week. Rest assured the department is still very actively engaged on the subject, but I thought I would talk about another important program this week – our Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program.
- You know we just celebrated Earth Day last week and it seems fitting that the program recently passed a milestone having collected more than 4 million pounds of unwanted and unused pesticides since it began in 1980.
- I’d say that is a ton of pesticides, but technically I’d be wrong. It’s two thousand tons of pesticides.
- Collection days are typically held in every county every other year. By alternating counties, farmers and homeowners can count on a collection day in their county or an adjacent county every six to eight months.
- We know people want to dispose of these chemicals properly, so these collection days give them the chance to do that.
- This proactive initiative protects public health and the environment by reducing the potential contamination of soil, water and air from leaking containers, spills and illegal dumping or burning.
- As I mentioned, we have had this program this since 1980 and what is amazing to me is what types of pesticides still turn up at collection days.
- Chemicals from the 1940s still turn up from time to time. Even Agent Orange from the Vietnam War era has been collected in the past.
- Altogether, the collection days add up to about 160,000 pounds of pesticides a year. We set a record in 2019 with 208,000 pounds collected and disposed of.
- The program is a team effort. We contract with a hazardous materials collection company for the collection and disposal. Local extension offices also help set up collection sites and dates.
- If a pesticide is still useable for its intended purpose, our staff can help arrange a transfer of those from one user to another.
- These are good things to remember if you happen to have leftover or unwanted pesticides around your farm or home.
- We do receive some funding from the N.C. General Assembly and the Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund.
- Money from every pesticide/herbicide sale in North Carolina goes into the trust fund. It’s money well spent in my opinion.
- I don’t know about you Mike, but I feel better that we did not talk about COVID-19 this week. I’d still remind folks to keep up your handwashing and social distancing. And look for local fruits, vegetables and meats at farmers markets, roadside stands and farms.
- And keep praying for us to turn a corner on this virus!