Florida Sweeps Up Pesticides

Florida's "Operation Cleansweep" has collected more than 1 million pounds of unusable pesticides in 12 years.

Published on: Mar 21, 2007

"Operation Cleansweep," a partnership between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has collected more than 1 million pounds of pesticides during the program's 12 years of operation, Florida Ag Commissioner Charles Bronson reported recently.

The program collects canceled, suspended or unusable pesticides from Florida farmers, nurseries, golf courses and pest control companies for proper disposal.

Operation Cleansweep collects and disposes of pesticides to protect agricultural workers, emergency responders, the public and the environment from potential health and environmental risks from stored pesticides. Some products are old and may be stored in containers that are deteriorating, while others, such as chlordane and DDT, can no longer be used legally. To date, more than 1 million pounds of pesticide products have been collected from nearly 1,500 participating farms, dairies, ranches, nurseries, golf courses and professional pest control operations in 65 counties.

"Operation Cleansweep is a convenient, cost-effective, public-private partnership to dispose of unwanted or outdated pesticides, providing free collection and disposal for Florida's pesticide consumers," DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole says. "This program provides a safe method of collection and disposal that is more protective of Florida's natural resources and our agricultural economy."

Proper disposal of pesticides can be costly and a complicated regulatory burden for small farmers and other pesticide users. Operation Cleansweep offers an opportunity to avoid these formidable barriers and promotes safe and environmentally-sound pesticide use, handling and disposal.

In addition to disposal of unwanted pesticides, participants in the program also receive educational material that includes tips on: purchasing pesticides; inventory control; stock rotation; proper labeling, storage, and handling; and how to respond to leaks, spills, and exposure incidents. Funded by in-kind contributions from public and private partners and the Florida Legislature, the program's goal is to collect and dispose of unwanted pesticides as well as prevent the need for future Operation Cleansweep collections through proper storage, labeling and pesticide purchasing.

For more information, visit the Operation Cleansweep website at www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/cleansweep-pesticides/default.htm.