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State opens registration for free pesticide disposal

AUGUSTA, Maine — This October, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Board of Pesticides Control will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to help Mainers dispose of unusable and waste pesticides.

The Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, jointly sponsored by the BPC and DEP and funded through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 99 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982.

This free annual program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collections will occur at four sites: Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland. Participants must pre-register by Sept. 29, 2017. Drop-ins are not permitted.

Workers will take the collected chemicals to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, where they will be incinerated or reprocessed.

DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb encourages Mainers to seize this free opportunity for pesticide disposal. “This program provides essential protection of the public, wildlife and environment,” he said.

“Pesticides thrown in the trash or poured down the drain contaminate drinking water and cause environmental damage,” said Whitcomb. “I urge people storing these products to contact the BPC and register as soon as possible for the October program.”

Pesticides may become unusable due to age, freezing or evaporation, or because their legal registration changes.  The term “pesticides” includes not only insecticides, but also herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. Past participants in the program have reported finding obsolete pesticides in barns of inherited properties, garages of newly purchased homes and other unexpected places.

“Providing Maine residents with a free and easy solution to properly dispose of pesticides gives everyone an opportunity to make a positive impact on our environment and public health,” said Paul Mercer, DEP Commissioner.

“This is an opportunity for Mainers to dispose of unusable pesticides properly and at no expense,” said Gov. Paul R. LePage. “Through consolidated collections at four central locations and the use of in-house resources and expertise, disposal costs are reduced to about $2 per pound.”

To register, get details, and learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to the BPC Web site at thinkfirstspraylast.org , or call 207-287-2731.

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