If your spring cleaning includes your barn, garage or shed, be sure to check whether you have any pesticide materials that might need disposing. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program sponsors about 40 collection events each year throughout the state.
In the 15 years Derrick Bell has been working with the PDAP, he has seen a little bit of everything at these events. “We have had people bring in Agent Orange, DDT and other outdated or banned products,” Bell said. “Some of these pesticides might have been sitting in a shed or garage for 30 years or more. This program offers farmers and homeowners a way to safely dispose of pesticides.”
Bell stresses that this is a non-regulatory, amnesty-type program, even for pesticides that have been banned for decades. “We just want these products disposed of in a safe, environmentally sound way that protects our waterways and land from improper dumping,” he said. Pesticides brought to the collection sites are taken by the contractor to a hazmat incinerator located out of state. The program has collected more than 3 million pounds in the last 35 years and was the first program of its kind in the nation.
Collection dates are coordinated with a hazardous materials contractor and the county-based pesticide coordinator. Last year, the program collected nearly 197,000 pounds, a new program record. “I often get asked if there will be a point when collections slow, that we have all the banned and outdated pesticides that are out there,”Bell said. “The thing is products change, different pesticides come on the market. Sometimes it can be children taking over the family farm and finding pesticides. There are just several reasons why pesticides need disposing, and there is still a bunch of it out there.”
PDAP holds collection dates in the spring and fall. Collection events are free and no preregistration is required. Unknown or unlabeled materials will not be accepted. Pressurized and mini-bulk containers will also not be accepted. If you have questions about what can and cannot be brought to a drop-off location, contact the PDAP or the event coordinator. If needed, PDAP staff can remove large quantities through an onsite visitation or by providing information and discussing potential options for proper disposal. Collection dates and locations are online at www.ncagr.gov/PDAP.