The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board announced today the results of the 2011 Pesticide Disposal Program. Through this free program, VDACS collected a total of 58,364 lbs. of unwanted pesticides, including 34,542 pounds of liquid product and 23,822 pounds of powders and granulated product. The Pesticide Disposal Program assists agricultural producers, licensed pesticide dealers and pest control firms, golf courses and homeowners with the proper disposal of unwanted pesticides. The program is available at no cost to eligible participants and is supported by pesticide fees collected by VDACS. Since the program’s inception, more than 1.6 million pounds of pesticides have been collected and destroyed.
Collected pesticides through the years have included DDT, Chlordane, Dursban, Paraquat, arsenic-containing pesticides, toxaphene, dieldren, silvex, 2,4,5-T and more. In the initial phases of the program, many of the pesticides collected had been banned and farmers or pest control firms had been holding onto the materials waiting for a safe collection method.
“We have been coordinating the pesticide disposal since 1990,” said VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr. “In the early years, we collected huge amounts of material that had been sitting around in sheds or barns for years or even decades. By now, we have been through the entire state several times so we are really in more of a maintenance phase.” Lohr noted that pesticide use has changed considerably over these past twenty years. Farmers are using less product and they’re using different formulations like concentrated liquids instead of powders. The use of GPS and other technologies allows them to target their applications very specifically to reduce the amounts applied. There have also been similar changes in application technologies and types of products used in non-agricultural settings, for example, inside residences and on lawns, that have resulted in a reduction in the use of pesticides. “Even with the changes in usage, the disposal program is still a very valuable service,” Lohr said. “It’s a win-win-win situation for Virginia’s farmers, pesticide industry and the environment.”