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Agricultural Pesticide Waste Collection

WHY COLLECT PESTICIDE WASTE?

Pesticide CollectionThe intelligent use of pesticides has helped make the United States the world's number one producer of food and fiber. Ideally pesticides are stored safely on the farm until they are completely used. However, many remain unused because cropping practices change, new products are introduced, some chemicals are banned and others deteriorate or lose their label. Such chemicals pose a threat to human health, livestock, and the environment--especially our rivers, lakes and groundwater.

THE PROGRAM:

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the U.T. Agricultural Extension Service, and others, has initiated the Tennessee Agricultural Pesticide Waste Collection Program as part of Tennessee's State Management Plan for Protection of Groundwater from Pesticides. This program is designed as a means for the safe removal and disposal of unwanted pesticides. This service is offered free of cost to the agricultural community.

The waste collection program started in spring 1998. Since the inception of the program approximately 800,000 pounds of pesticides have been collected.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS:

If you would like to dispose of pesticides, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture will pick up your unusable products and have them incinerated by an environmental services firm that the department has under contract. If you have a small amount of product for disposal, a TDA employee will pick it up at your farm. If it is a large amount, arrangements can be made to have it removed directly by the contractor. This is a non-regulatory program; any pesticides will be removed with no questions asked. Our main concern is providing for the safe removal and disposal of unwanted pesticides.

Both known and unknown pesticide wastes will be accepted, including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides; also other products such as defoliants and growth retardants. Products other than pesticides will not be collected. Specific materials that will not be collected include, but are not limited to: explosives or ordinance materials, petroleum products, paints, medical wastes, radioactive materials, dioxin precursors and seeds. Empty pesticide containers will not be collected.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

Discuss the Pesticide Waste Collection Program with your neighboring farmers and encourage their participation.  Help us spread the message about the program and its value through friends, farm and community organizations, and agribusiness associates.  Getting started is the hardest part, but the rewards of the collection effort will be great, and will extend to future generations.

If you have questions or have pesticides for disposal through the Agricultural Pesticide Waste Collection Program, contact:

Richard Strickland
Groundwater Protection Coordinator
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
(615) 837-5523 / richard.strickland@tn.gov