Kootenay farmers can drop off old pesticides

Those looking to get rid of old, unused pesticides will be glad to hear a familiar program is returning.

Those looking to get rid of old, unused pesticides will be glad to hear a familiar program is returning.

The CleanFARMS obsolete pesticide collection campaign launched in 1999, last came to the Kootenay region in 2012, and will be back this fall for the fourth time.

“The aim is to ensure any pesticides used in agriculture are properly disposed of when they are no longer needed,” said CleanFARMS directors of obsolete collections Russel Hurst.

CleanFARMS is an industry-funded nonprofit organization.

It runs its obsolete collection programs across the country and hits up every region of every province every few years.

“Basically, it’s every three years we pass through,” said Hurst. “It’s free for farmers so it’s really well-received. It can be fairly expensive for farmers to individually dispose of any unwanted or outdated pesticides they may have around, since these are hazardous materials and there is a lot of red tape involved in getting rid of them. We remove those barriers.”

The organization has not yet set up its collections sites in the Kootenay region (there will be two — one in Cranbrook and one in Creston), but it will probably do so in the next six to eight weeks, according to Hurst.

The sites will be open for droping off pesticides sometime in late October or November, when farmers tend to not be as busy and more likely to have time to visit the collection centre

“It really showcases farmers’ commitment to being good stewards of the land, that they all hang on to these old pesticides for years until we can collect them,” said Hurst.

This year is the first time farmers can drop off obsolete livestock or horse medications along with pesticides.

The pesticides and medication collected in the Kootenay site will be trucked to a high incineration facility in Alberta, where it will be disposed of.

“Incineration is the best way to get rid of the kind of chemical waste we deal with,” said Hurst.

This past October in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island, farmers in those areas turned in more than 19,000 kilograms of obsolete and unwanted pesticides as well as 156 kilograms of unused or outdated livestock or horse medication during the week.

In the 2012 Kootenay collection, farmers dropped off 2,296 kilograms of obsolete pesticides. Since the program launched more than 15 year ago, B.C. farmers have turned in more than 226,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides.

In between collections, farmers are encouraged to safely store their unwanted pesticides and livestock medications until they can properly dispose of them through the program.

To learn more visit www.cleanfarms.ca.