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Things go to waste, but proper disposal is key

[Stock Photo]

Area farmers who find themselves with potentially hazardous waste – the likes of unused pesticides and expired livestock medications – have a chance later this month to dispose of the materials safely, and at no cost.

The CleanFarms recycling program will be in effect September 25 at the FS Partners location in Drayton.

“Because this is on a rotating basis every three years, it’s important that farmers catch their day in their region this year,” said Barbara McDonnell, spokesperson for CleanFarms. “Otherwise they will need to hold on to the materials for another three years, so it’s a really good opportunity.”

CleanFarms, a non-profit environmental stewardship organization, holds its collection event annually across Canada, rotating locations each year. There are 30 collection spots scheduled throughout Ontario in 2019.

“If someone takes over or buys a new farm, they might find that there’s old obsolete materials left in the barn somewhere so they find they may want to get rid of these materials in a safe or environmentally friendly way,” said McDonnell.

It was a big turnout for the province last time around –12,000 kilograms of livestock and equine medication and 126,000 kg of unwanted pesticides were collected at the previous CleanFarms event in 2016.

If you include every region CleanFarms covered across the province, the results are even higher. Overall, 279,000 kg of pesticides and nearly 20,000 kg of livestock and equine medications were handed in at all 79 locations throughout Peace Region of British Columbia and Alberta, Northern Alberta, Manitoba, and Newfoundland in 2016.

Once collected, the materials are transported across Canada to be properly disposed of.

“The waste company that looks after the product is specialized in hazardous waste. It’s really safe; we follow all health and safety directives. Once the product is collected, it is sent to an incinerator,” explained Christine Lajeunesse, eastern business manager at CleanFarms. “There’s only one incinerator that can take hazardous waste in Canada, Swan Hills Treatment Centre in Alberta.”

The materials accepted in the program include old or unwanted agricultural pesticides, commercial pesticides for golf courses, and industrial/commercial pest control products, livestock/equine medications used for rearing animals in an agricultural context (identified with a DIN or serial number). Accepted materials are identified with a pest control product number on the label.

The program will decline any fertilizer, diluted solution, large quantities of unopened product, treated seed, needles/sharps, medicated feed, aerosol containers, premises disinfectants/sanitizers, veterinary clinic waste and medications, ear tags, and aerosols. Any other household hazardous waste will not be accepted.

“The most common error, I would say, is fertilizers and micronutrients,” explained Lajeunesse. Sometimes we get ear tags that are not accepted also. We also get some far out things like paint, paint thinner, waste oil, but it is for just pesticides.”

More information about what is and isn’t accepted can be found by calling 877-622-4460. This program is funded by the crop protection industry and the Canadian Animal Health Institute.

In most cases, collection days are scheduled at local agricultural retailers’ sites, and events are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The local collection site is FS Partners, 44 Main St. W. in Drayton.

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