Ontario farmers safely disposed of over 125,000 kilograms of obsolete crop protection and animal health products and used needles in a province-wide collection blitz last fall.
Last year’s collection marked the first time the stewardship program was expanded beyond obsolete crop protection products to include other agricultural waste streams.
“Canada’s plant science industry is committed to safe, environmentally responsible practices. From lab to label, through storage and disposal, programs like this represent the industry’s pledge to responsibly manage its products,” said Lorne Hepworth, president of Croplife Canada, the trade association representing the developers, manufacturers and distributors of plant science innovations and founder of the program.
The Ontario “Cleanfarmstm” program, which ran Oct. 20 to 22, 2009 at 16 collection sites across the province, collected over 123,000 kilograms of obsolete agricultural pest control products, 913 kilograms of unused animal health products and 1,057 kilograms of used sharps (needles, syringes and scalpel blades).
Approximately 1,000 farmers participated in the program, with almost 70% bringing in crop protection products only, 15% bringing animal health products only, and 16% bringing both.
“The response of the farming community to this collection program was tremendous,” says Paul Wettlaufer, a farmer and chairman of AgFarm a coalition of Ontario farm groups focused on environmental issues. “Farmers are responsible environmental stewards. We are committed to protecting the land and water, and programs like this are important tools to help us do that.”
The 2009 “Cleanfarmstm” collection was part of an Ontario government-supported Great Lakes basin water quality initiative, which also included a feasibility study to examine long term, sustainable collection options. Pesticide collection programs in Canada have collected and safely destroyed 1.4 million kilograms of product.