Disposing of old chemicals


Quite frequently I get calls from farmers across the area asking how they can dispose of old chemicals. Often these were left over from prior years plantings or many times they are cleaning out barns due to a death in the family.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy avenue to pursue to get rid of these chemicals in a responsible manner. However, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has now got you covered.

Residents of 11 Illinois counties can dispose of unwanted agrichemicals for free this year through the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) agricultural pesticide “Clean Sweep” program.

A “Clean Sweep” collection has been scheduled in late summer for Bureau, Carroll, Henry, JoDaviess, Lasalle, Lee, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago Counties, IDOA announced recently. The collection, which rotates among Illinois counties, is open to farmers, retired farmers, nursery owners, private pesticide applicators, structural pest control applicators and landowners who inherited unwanted agricultural pesticides with their property.

There are two main reasons to take advantage of this program. The department is able to provide the service free of charge thanks to a grant obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If individuals were to properly dispose of agrichemicals on their own, it could be expensive.

Secondly, the state of Illinois, not the program participant, will assume liability for the proper disposal of all materials collected.

Participants must register the products they plan to dispose of by July 26. Registration is required to give the waste disposal contractor time to prepare for the different kinds of materials being collected.

Forms can be obtained either by calling the IDOA Pesticide Hotline at 1-800-641-3934, online at agr.illinois.gov/pesticides/pesticide-clean-sweep-program.html or by visiting or calling the Ogle County Farm Bureau (815-732-2231).

Completed forms should be mailed or faxed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The mailing address is: Clean Sweep Program, Illinois Department of Agriculture, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL, 62794-9281. The fax number is (217) 524-4882.

Participants then will be sent a reservation card indicating the date, time and location of their collection.

The “Clean Sweep” program began in 1990 in Illinois. Since its inception, the Department has held 54 collection events through the state and collected 662,517 pounds of material from 2,301 participants.

“You’ve got to love the irony of a generation raised on prank calls that are now tormented by robocalls.”

Ron Kern is the manager of the Ogle County Farm Bureau.