Cleaning Out Old Pesticides

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Hopefully, the potential for winter weather to return has diminished, giving way to the buds and blooms of spring’s arrival. April is often a great time to begin your spring cleaning around the house or farm. As you begin tackling these dreaded chores to rid your spaces of clutter and grime, start making plans to help save time. I think it is fitting that Earth Day, recognized annually on April 22, is held during this time. Earth Day is a time for people around the globe from all walks of life to demonstrate their contribution towards a cleaner and healthier environment. As you look around your storage areas, you may discover that you have some old or unused pesticides lying around. What’s the best way to dispose of these unwanted products?

To help individuals get into the environmental spirit, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, would like to offer some options to assist with a few cleanup activities. The first option will be a free Pesticide Disposal Day, held on Wednesday, April 11, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the Robeson County Fairgrounds, for any farmer, homeowner, or landscape professional needing to properly dispose of any unwanted pesticides. The Pesticide Disposal Day is a working partnership with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to keep pesticides from being illegally dumped into the environment. A certified contractor will be on site to collect and properly dispose of pesticide (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) products in original containers, up to 55 gallons, from residents of Robeson and surrounding counties. Nearly all pesticide products will be accepted at this free amnesty collection event, including banned and outdated pesticides. For pesticides with unreadable or missing labels, contact the Cooperative Extension Center for instructions prior to the event. Please save any portion of the label to help identify the material, so you can be assisted with disposal. Mini-bulks, gas cylinders, and non-pesticide household hazardous waste (HHW) materials such as paints, oils, gas, explosives, or drugs will not be accepted on the collection day. If you wish to participate in the disposal day, be sure to register by calling Cooperative Extension at 671-3276.

Individuals who may have empty pesticide containers after making routine applications have another excellent year-round option for getting rid of their waste. North Carolina Cooperative Extension (Robeson County Center) and Robeson County Solid Waste Department work together to provide a Pesticide Container Recycling Program that includes seven collection sites across the county. Recycling properly cleaned pesticide containers is simple, but proper steps should be followed to ensure containers are acceptable. Individuals can begin by triple rinsing or pressure rinsing empty containers and allow them to completely dry. This is easiest during the mixing and loading process before residues have a chance to dry and harden. Remove the caps and label booklets and discard in regular household trash. Be sure to store cleaned containers out of the elements and mud. Properly cleaned pesticide containers can be brought to the following solid waste collection sites:

  1. 1884 Balance Farm Road, St. Pauls
  2. 459 Beaver Dam Road, Maxton
  3. 584 Branch Road, Lumberton
  4. 66 Daystorm Road, Maxton
  5. 3096 Midway Road, Maxton
  6. 3141 Lowe Road, Lumberton
  7. 182 Lamb Road, Lumberton

With Earth Day quickly approaching, what are you going to do to demonstrate your commitment to a cleaner and healthier environment? Will you spend the day doing spring cleaning, picking up trash along a roadside, or finally dealing with the pile of pesticide containers out back? I encourage you to start thinking of how you, your family, or friends can take part in some kind of environmental stewardship effort over the coming days. Taking advantage of the mentioned options is a great start!

For more information, please contact Mac Malloy, Extension Field Crops Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website.

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