AUGUSTA — This October, Mainers can dispose of unusable and waste pesticides because of a project sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Board of Pesticides Control and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, funded through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 106 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

This free annual program is open to homeowners and family owned farms and greenhouses.

Collections will occur at four sites: Presque Isle, Jonesboro, Augusta and Portland. Registration is required by Monday, Oct. 7,  and unregistered drop-offs are not permitted. All details, including drop-off locations and program dates, will be supplied following registration.

Pesticides being accepted include: herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides and similar products used in agricultural production or around the home. Past participants in the program have reported finding obsolete pesticides in barns of inherited properties, garages of newly purchased homes, and other unexpected places. While removal of these pesticides can seem daunting, it is important for the protection of public, wildlife and environmental health, that they are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or poured down the drain, where they can contaminate land and water resources.

“The Obsolete Pesticide Collection Program is an excellent opportunity for free disposal of unusable and unwanted pesticides,” said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal, according to the release. “Register in advance, bring your pesticides to one of the designated collection sites, and let the professionals dispose of these materials in a responsible and safe way.”

DEP Commissioner Jerry Reid is encouraging Mainers to take advantage of this free opportunity. “When improperly disposed of — in the trash, poured into the environment, down the drain, or kept in storage for long periods of time — pesticides threaten wildlife and the quality of our drinking water sources,” said Jerry Reid, DEP commissioner, according to the release.

To register and access information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, visit thinkfirstspraylast.org, or call 287-2731.

More information about Maine Board of Pesticides Control can be found at thinkfirstspraylast.org. Information about Maine Department of Environmental Protection is at maine.gov/dep.

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