The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA), founded in 2000, is an organization of federal, state and local governmental agencies, educational and research institutions, public organizations, private corporations and individuals that are actively involved in different aspects of pesticide stewardship. Stewardship, by definition includes any activity that has a positive impact on the safety and efficacy of pesticides from manufacture, marketing and commerce, through storage and use, and ultimately disposal of unwanted or unusable products and the management of emptied containers. TPSA will serve as a forum to facilitate cooperation among all interested individuals, organizations, agencies and companies.
The goals of TPSA are to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and longevity of various pesticide stewardship efforts. TPSA will utilize education, training, outreach and other activities to accomplish its stewardship objectives and will be involved in the local, national and international arenas.
- hold an annual conference for exchanging ideas and technical information, and discussing the impacts of emerging issues and other concerns among the membership;
- develop a newsletter and website that will facilitate timely communication among the membership;
- serve as a clearing house for technical information, data and expertise concerning pesticide stewardship programs and issues;
- provide a mechanism to concentrate technical expertise in finding solutions to nationwide problems impacting pesticide stewardship programs;
- promote pesticide stewardship efforts through the use of achievement awards that will honor innovative and creative efforts of individual programs, persons, organizations, government agencies and industry
- governmental agencies that a) operate hazardous or solid waste regulatory programs, or b) mange programs that handle pesticide wastes or c) are involved with other hazardous and solid waste management concerns; or d) are involved with pesticide or pest management programs;
- corporations which transport, dispose or recycle solid or hazardous wastes;
- industries that manufacture, formulate or distribute pesticide products;
- organizations, institutions and individuals that are involved with hazardous or solid waste management, pest management, pollution prevention and environmental protection issues;
- Agricultural and forestry growers and producers; and various commodity groups.
In recent years, various public opinion and survey polls have found that citizens are concerned about environmental quality issues and expect government agencies, universities, and industry to protect the nation’s natural resources. Over the past two decades, this has resulted in new programs, regulations and initiatives dealing with the many different pesticide products in use.
One of the more important initiatives that began in the early 1980s is the management of pesticide wastes, which includes both unwanted pesticides and emptied pesticide containers, through collection, disposal and recycling programs.
Today, nearly 25 states operate ongoing programs for the collection of unwanted pesticides. Plastic pesticide containers are collected and recycled in most of the continental 48 states through the industry sponsored, Agricultural Container Research Council (ACRC). Since 1980, it is estimated that more than 100 million pounds of pesticides and nearly 40 million pounds of containers have been handled through these widespread efforts. Individual product recall initiatives, often working with pesticide disposal assistance programs, have been conducted throughout the U.S. as a result of the EPA’s RPAR program. Locally sponsored household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs, operating in many cities and counties, are also an important mechanism for the collection and disposal of pesticides and other products from homes, institutions and businesses.
While these accomplishments are indeed significant, there is still need for improvement. Disposal and recycling programs for pesticides and their containers are not available in all areas. Some state pesticide management programs are in their infancy and others are operating under moderate to severe funding limitations. In addition, complexities with hazardous waste regulations and various economic constraints have resulted in the fact that viable disposal options do not exist for some pesticide formulations within the U.S. Furthermore, millions of pounds of containers, both rinsed and not properly rinsed, are still being disposed of within the nation’s solid waste landfills.
Dealing with the above listed deficiencies will require a unified and concerted effort by many entities, both public and private. TPSA can and will provide a valuable mechanism for concentrating and coordinating the technical, organizational and economic resources that will be required to develop workable solutions for these ongoing problems.
While TPSA was established in order to foster pesticide waste management and recycling programs, future efforts of this organization will encompass many other aspects of pesticide stewardship. Cooperation among pesticide manufactures, product users, regulatory agencies, research institutions and interested private and public organizations is absolutely necessary to ensure that pesticides will be available, effective and safe tools to protect human health, our food supply and the earth’s natural resources. It is for these purposes that TPSA was founded and for these reasons that it will play a key role in the nation’s pesticide stewardship programs.