The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board (VPCB) announced today that they have surpassed the one-million pound mark in collecting and disposing of the Commonwealth’s unwanted pesticides. The 2004 disposal project isn’t over yet, with seven localities in central Virginia scheduled for the week of November 29. This week, however, the program achieved a major milestone as it surpassed the million-pound mark.
The Pesticide Disposal Program began in 1990 as a pilot program. In the ensuing 14 years, VDACS and the VPCB have hit all areas of the state twice to collect unwanted, unused, outdated, or banned pesticides from agricultural producers, pest control dealers and pesticide applicators. Historically, the contract waste-disposal company traveled to each participating farm or company to pick up pesticides at their site. This year, Care Environmental, the disposal contractor, set up at strategically-located sites within the area and participants brought in their unwanted pesticides for packaging and transport to a disposal facility. If pesticide holders could not safely package their unwanted chemicals for transport, the contractor visited that site to pack them for the holder to transport or to pack and transport them to an off-site facility.
Officials estimate that when this year’s project is completed in early December, it will be the second largest yearly program in pounds of pesticides collected. Collection figures to date for 2004 include 27 participating localities with 189,163 pounds collected from 167 participants.
Throughout the 14 years of Virginia’s disposal project, 2,302 agricultural producers, pesticide dealers and pest control firms have participated in the program with 1,137,591 pounds collected and destroyed. Virginia has joined thirteen other states – California, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin – in collecting a million pounds or more.
“Virginia today is a better place because of the pesticide disposal project,” said VDACS’ Commissioner J. Carlton Courter, III. “The disposal program is a collaborative effort among many partners, and these groups, working together, have made a significant positive contribution to Virginia’s environment.”
The Pesticide Disposal Project is a program of VDACS and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board, with participation from Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. The program, which is free for participants, is funded through pesticide fees collected by the Office of Pesticide Services.