Sask. farmers return more than 60,000 kilos. in obsolete pesticides

Alex Di Pietro
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Farmers in central Saskatchewan turned in 60,400 kilograms of obsolete pesticides last year, with more than 1,250 kilos being returned to the Prince Albert Co-op Home and Agro Centre. 

Daily Herald

The return, which was held over three days, was part of a program operated by CleanFARMS. It was the second half to a two-year plan that saw 35,000 kilograms collected in southern Saskatchewan in 2011.

“We generally do this in a blitz style, because running these kinds of programs is very expensive … We try to do it as efficiently as possible,” CleanFARMS general manager Barry Friesen said.

There were about 21 locations for farmers to return their pesticides to, including the one in P.A., according to Friesen. Dealers around a particular province are selected to minimize the distance that farmers have to drive.

“We do advertising beforehand, and we ask farmers to bring in their obsolete pesticides -- that would be material that is de-registered product, very old or may no longer be useful to the farmer,” Friesen said, noting that the product can be brought to the collection depot for free.

All of the material is then sent to be disposed by way of high-temperature incineration at the Swan Hills Treatment Centre (SHTC) in Alberta.

“We use licenced hazardous waste contractors. It’s highly regulated under Transport Canada,” Friesen said of transporting the material. “The drivers are all trained. They have trucks that all have to be fully licenced to handle those materials. We’ve never had an accident since ’98 -- since we’ve been operating.”

Farmers have turned in almost 380,000 kilos of obsolete pesticides since 1998.

“This program is so very important to the famers, because otherwise, they would either have to contract with their own hazardous waste hauler to come and get it or, in some cases, people just sit on it for many years -- packages can disintegrate and then God knows what could happen,” Friesen said.

The obsolete pesticide collection program usually comes to the province every three years. Farmers are asked to safely store their unwanted pesticides between collections.

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