IFAS News

University of Florida

Hillsborough County pesticide collection aides farmers, protects environment

Topic(s): Agriculture, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Pollution

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When a pesticide is discontinued or banned by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, farmers may opt to store these products until they figure out how to dispose of them properly, says Stephen Gran, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Hillsborough County.

However, this temporary solution should be just that—temporary, Gran explained.

“Storing these products for long periods poses unnecessary risks to employees, the community and the environment,” Gran explained. “However, proper disposal can be hard to secure, especially for smaller agricultural operations. We knew a public collection program could help farmers get rid of unusable inventory while mitigating potential environmental impacts.”

Starting in 2003, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County began collaborating with state and county agencies to provide free collection, handling and disposal of canceled pesticides to area farmers. In 2016, the pesticide collection program collected and disposed of more than 7,500 pounds of pesticides. Over 92,000 pounds have been collected since the start of the program, he said.

The next pesticide collection day is set for Jan. 27 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 7202, East Eighth Avenue, Tampa, FL, 33619.

There is strong demand for this kind of service, Gran said. “There has been a larger than expected response to the program because not all growers are aware of disposal options for the discontinued products they might have in storage,” he said.

The program also works to educate the agricultural community about disposal options. On collection days, vegetable and ornamental horticulture agents with UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County are on site to answer participants’ questions and offer science-based educational materials on pesticide use and disposal, Gran said.

U.S. Ecology Tampa, hazardous waste disposal provider for Hillsborough County, hauls collected pesticide to a regulated waste landfill to be destroyed.

The program is funded by the Environmental Protection Commission Pollution Recovery Fund, and is made possible through the cooperation of the Hillsborough County economic development department’s Agriculture Industry Development Program, the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, U.S. Ecology Tampa and UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County.

Caption: Local farmers can bring in discontinued or banned pesticides for proper disposal, thanks to the pesticide collection program. UF/IFAS photo

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By: Samantha Grenrock, 352-294-3307, grenrosa@ufl.edu

Source: Stephen Gran, 813-744-5519 ext. 54113, grans@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

 

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