TAVARES — In conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Lake County’s Solid Waste Division is encouraging local agricultural establishments to safely and inexpensively dispose of their cancelled, suspended and unusable pesticides.
Funded again this year by the state legislature, Operation Cleansweep allows farms, ranches, nurseries, golf courses and pest control companies to have their unwanted or expired pesticides picked up and removed, free of charge for the first 750 pounds and 89 cents for each additional pound.
“Some commercial grade pesticides, which companies may be storing in old, deteriorating containers, are extremely toxic to humans and dangerous to the environment and must be carefully handled,” said Johnny Taylor, Lake County’s Hazardous Waste & E-Cycling Supervisor. “Chemicals such as chlordane and DDT, which are no longer allowed to be used, can be disposed of through Operation Cleansweep.”
Operation Cleansweep began in 1995 with a statewide collection of more than 70,000 pounds of lead arsenate, a then widely-used pesticide for citrus operations which was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency. Through June 2015, Operation Cleansweep has collected and disposed of more than 775 tons of cancelled, suspended and unusable pesticides from more than 2,000 participants in all 67 Florida counties. Last year alone, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported that it collected over 111,600 pounds of pesticides from 233 participants in 41 counties statewide.
Collections will be conducted by the state and will begin in November until the $100,000 in funding is exhausted. Interested businesses are encouraged to sign up for the program by emailing email@example.com or by calling 877-851-5285. To find out more about Operation Cleansweep, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/cleansweep-pesticides.