Josh Bushong (column mug)ENE

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service are teaming up once again this year to offer two more opportunities for applicators, farmers or residents to properly dispose of any unwanted pesticides.

ODAFF funds this Unwanted Pesticide Disposal Program to provide a free service to prevent unlawful disposal of pesticides.

The first event will be in Blackwell at the Blackwell Fairgrounds and Event Center on Oct. 12. The second event will be in Guymon at the Texas County Fairgrounds on Oct. 14. Both events will be held between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

These are the last two events planned for 2021, but any future events will be posted at the OSU Pesticide Safety Education webpage at www.PestEd.okstate.edu.

Oklahoma commercial and non-commercial applicators and pesticide dealers may participate. Oklahoma farmers, ranchers and homeowners can use this program as well. There is no cost for the first 2,000 pounds of pesticides brought in by a participant. Anything more than 2,000 pounds will be charged to the participant.

Applicators, homeowners, farmers and ranchers are not required to pre-register. Dealers are asked to voluntarily pre-register with the OSU Pesticide Safety Education Program. Dealers are asked to pre-register to allow the hazardous waste company to properly plan for larger quantities.

So, what are unwanted pesticides? When pesticides become unusable as originally intended for various reasons, they are considered unwanted. Unwanted pesticides can result from both good and bad management practices.

Leftover pesticides that have a limited shelf life may undergo changes rendering them unusable. Pesticides also become unusable when they are no longer registered in the state of Oklahoma. Unwanted or waste pesticides also can result from lost labels on the container making them no longer identifiable.

The word pesticide is a general term for any chemical or product that is used to destroy, prevent or control a pest. Herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, defoliant, desiccant, miticide, rodenticide and nematicide are all examples of pesticides. Products that participants are not allowed to bring include fertilizers, micronutrients, waste oil or any other non-pesticide material.

Transportation of the unwanted pesticides to these events is the responsibility of the participants.

Wearing appropriate personal protection equipment always is recommended when handling pesticides. Inspect all unwanted pesticides to see that they are securely packaged. Do not transport pesticides in areas occupied by passengers. Lining the storage area or trunk with plastic sheeting is a good practice to prevent spillage.

Containers 5 gallons or smaller can be placed in a bucket or plastic storage container if they show signs of leakage.

The Unwanted Pesticide Disposal Program has been very successful. Since 2006, this program has collected about a million pounds of unwanted pesticides.

The program is a service designed to remove unusable pesticides from storage and reduce the potential threat to public health and the environment and participants in the program will not be prosecuted for illegal management practices.

For more information visit your local OSU Extension office or visit the OSU Pesticide Education Safety Program webpage www.PestEd.okstate.edu.

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Bushong is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service northwest area agronomy specialist.

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