Lorry full of ‘vet meds’ collected at Listowel waste collection

A record number of farmers – 525 in total – travelled to Listowel, Co. Kerry, with their hazardous waste last Saturday (November 4).

Speaking to AgriLand, the EPA’s Shane Colgan stated that 200 would have been a good number at a collection; 300 would be very busy; but 525 was a record.

The resource efficiency manager added that 20t of engine oil and a full lorry of veterinary medicines were collected on the day.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are three main reasons why farmers are keen to get rid of their waste. These include: safety; keeping the farmyard clean and tidy; and cross compliance.

Colgan continued to say that there are three drop-off points located at each collection centre – electrical, waste oil; and chemicals and medications – and most farmers tend to stop at all three points.

The majority of waste is very agricultural. But, farmers have big sheds to store things in and they might drop off an electric fence battery and an old computer.

Colgan stated that the medication and chemical collections are made up of “old and surplus” products.

“Farmers might have 2L of a chemical left over and have no use for it. They’re right to throw it out as it loses its efficacy.

The everyday, well-done business of farming results in a certain amount of hazardous waste.

Positive attitude

It’s important to point out that once farmers bring in their waste to the collection, they have done their job.

A herd number will be recorded on the farmer’s docket so they have proof of disposal for farm records, but individual products are not associated with this. Once the chemicals or medications are handed in, they then gets sorted, which might be after the farmer has left. No penalties are incurred for handing in old or out of date products.

No one will get in trouble, the sorting happens later. It’s not about who had what.

Colgan was delighted to see farmers bringing in POPS (persistent organic pollutants) and disposing of these products safely. He remembers the EPA getting excited when they collected 900g of POPS. This year alone, the EPA has collected 12kg. POPS are found in many forms, but a common one brought to the collection is old lice powder.

Lice powder, a persistent organic pollutant

“The EPA subsidise the collections. But, farmers do have to pay a fee for disposal and they are pleased to get rid of the waste from their farms,” he concluded.

Are there more collections?

The EPA is now half way through its Hazardous Waste collection campaign and large amounts of waste have been collected. Bandon, Enniscorthy, Nenagh and Kilkenny are among the other locations completed. A list of the remaining locations is outlined below.

Locations of Farm Hazardous Waste Collection Centres:
  • Cahir Mart – Tuesday, November 14;
  • Mayo-Sligo Co-operative Mart, Ballina – Friday, November 17;
  • Tullamore Mart – Tuesday, November 21;
  • Athenry Mart – Friday, November 24;
  • Kells Recycling Centre – Tuesday, November 28.