It’s a “Clean Sweep” of outdated, unused and unwanted pesticides

Pesticide and mercury disposal in Michigan is safe, free and available at 18 sites throughout the state.

The Michigan Clean Sweep program provides free and safe disposal options for unused, outdated and unwanted pesticides and mercury. In the past 14 years, nearly 1.7 million pounds of pesticides have been removed from circulation and properly disposed. In 2010, 107,265 pounds (nearly 54 tons) of pesticides were collected at Michigan’s 18 permanent Clean Sweep sites.

In addition to protecting the state’s natural resources, Clean Sweep helps to create safer living environments for Michigan residents. Products labeled as or containing atrazine, chlordane, lead arsenate hydroxide, cyclohexanone, methyl bromide and DDT are just a few of the pesticides removed from homes and farms. In fact, the list of products collected between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, contains 650 different known active ingredients. And then there are the “unknowns” or materials not identifiable due to degradation of the package or container, or materials submitted in coffee cans, mason jars and garbage bags. Of the materials collected, 41,708 pounds were identified as “unknowns” and they too were properly collected and disposed.

For the next two years, the Michigan Clean Sweep program has received funding through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to enhance its collection efforts. As a result, agribusinesses, greenhouses and nurseries can dispose of unused or unwanted pesticides free of charge during 2011 and 2012. Now is the time to contact your nearest Clean Sweep site to make arrangements and rid your business of the pesticides that are unused or unwanted.

And there is more good news. Many Clean Sweep sites can now collect pharmaceuticals. This service is available for human and animal medications so in addition to the general public, livestock producers, animal shelters and zoos now have an option to safely dispose of unwanted, outdated or unused pharmaceuticals. Not all sites can accept pharmaceuticals and some may only accept them during special collection events, so again, it is important to call ahead for instructions.

Clean Sweep is helping to make Michigan a cleaner, safer place to live, work, and enjoy. The program is made possible by a unique state, federal, local and industry partnership and it is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Locate a Clean Sweep site near you