As the pesticide coordinator for Robeson County, I frequently receive questions about how to dispose of unwanted pesticide products.

You know, the old half-filled containers that have worked their way to the back of the storage shelf that might be decades old, or the old barn full of pesticides left behind when grandpa died. As you look around your storage areas, you may discover you too have some old or unwanted pesticide lying around. These scenarios can be a big challenge. So, what is the best way to dispose of these unwanted products?

Although there are times when old pesticides can still be effective to use, that is not always an option, for a multitude of reasons. Pesticide materials settle out in their containers over time. If products have not been properly stored, such as exposure to extreme heat or freezing events, it can reduce the activity of the product. A great option for proper disposal will be to bring those materials to a free pesticide disposal day held on Thursday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 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 North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program, to keep pesticides from being illegally dumped into the environment. A certified contractor will be onsite 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Nearly all pesticide products will be accepted at this free amnesty collection event, including banned and outdated pesticides.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 N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County 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 the disposal. Mini-bulks, gas cylinders, and non-pesticide household hazardous waste (HHW) material such as paints, oils, gas, explosives, or drugs will not be accepted on the collection day. Be sure to register if you wish to participate in the disposal day by calling Extension at 910-671-3276.

Although we are weeks out from the April 22 Earth Day recognition, our efforts to protect our environment should continue throughout the year. What are you going to do to demonstrate your commitment to a cleaner and healthier environment? Taking advantage of proper pesticide disposal is a great start.

Mac Malloy is an Extension Field Crop agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. He can be reached by calling 910- 671-3276, by E-mail at [email protected], or by going online to http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.