In a few short weeks on Sept. 6, the Ohio Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the EPA will collect unused, unwanted, and out-of-date pesticides and farm chemicals through the Clean Sweep program. Ohio’s Clean Sweep program rotates collection sites each year, ranging from three to four sites across the state. This year’s collection will be in Wood County at the Wood County Fairgrounds in Bowling Green. The collection will begin at 9 am and conclude by 3 pm.

The Clean Sweep program benefits all residents of Ohio, especially our farmers and their families. Long-term storage of unused and outdated chemicals and containers can present significant safety risks to our environment and to the health of humans, animals, and plants.

The Clean Sweep program first helped Ohio farmers in 1993 dispose of farm chemicals and pesticides that had accumulated over time. By the year 2000, farmers disposed of more than one million pounds of pesticides across Ohio.

While total annual collection numbers have varied – they have steadily decreased over time. This is a good sign that the bulk of potential pollutants are being removed safely and responsibly. In fact, the 2016 summer collection disposed of nearly 50,000 pounds of farm chemicals across the state. Putnam County and surrounding farmers disposed of 12,787 pounds of chemicals last year when the program was held at the Putnam County Fairgrounds!

If you use and store pesticides on your farm, here are a few tips to safely reduce the amount of farm chemicals that are unneeded, unwanted, outdated, or no longer registered for use:

Only purchases as much pesticide as needed for a job or season.

If there is excess, use up small amounts by applying them according to label directions.

If you are unable to use excess product, ask whether other farmers or neighbors could use it as well.

Each pesticide container includes a label with instructions for proper disposal methods. When in doubt, take the pesticides to this year’s disposal event or hold on to the product until next year’s ODA Clean Sweep program. The Extension office notifies area farmers of collection locations and dates each year.

For additional information, please contact the Putnam County Extension office at 419-523-6294, by email at Scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu or stop in at 1206 East Second Street in Ottawa. You can also find us on Facebook by searching for OSU Extension Putnam County.