Wisconsin Clean Sweep offers grants to local governments for the collection and disposal of agricultural waste (AW), household hazardous wastes (HHW) and unwanted prescription drugs (Rx). Farms (both active and abandoned), households, and certain businesses, called “Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs),” are eligible to use Clean Sweep services. The program’s goal is to help create options for Wisconsin residents and businesses to protect themselves, their livestock, pets and the environment from the harmful effects of improper waste storage and disposal.
In 2011, DATCP awarded grants to every eligible applicant. Fifty counties, four cities and villages and six tribal nations were beneficiaries of one or more types of the 27 HHW, 19 AW, and 18 Rx grants made available. Some grantees were multi-municipal partnerships, reaching broad geographic areas. Grant awards were slightly reduced from the requested application amount in order to make awards to all eligible applicants.
In 2011 waste collected in each category increased, particularly HHW and AW collections increasing nearly three times from the amount collected in 2010. While the amount of waste collected each year can vary widely depending on the population of the communities using the program and frequency of the collections, the increases in 2011 can likely be attributed to the increase in the number of grants provided from 2010 to 2011. This is illustrated in Table 1.
Table 1: Grant Recipients by Category 2010-2011:
Chart 1 shows the total amount of waste collected in each of the last six years. In 2011, 480 farmers and 577 agricultural businesses brought in 347,995 pounds of AW, a 240% increase over the 2010 total of 141,644.
Table 2 shows the top five AW products collected. The increase in AW from 2010 to 2011 could be attributed to the four additional AW collections in 2011. Likewise, both 2009 and 2007 AW results were comparable, which supports the observation of counties who report that offering AW collections no more frequently than every two years may be the most productive in terms of committing resources to the cyclical demand for services. It should be noted that the amount of farm waste declined while the amount of waste from businesses increased. Many counties attribute this decline in farm waste due to the increased use of commercial pesticide application (where leftover chemical can be applied to the next customer’s land rather than discarded) and successful elimination of old, stockpiled pesticides no longer needed, effective or registered. Agricultural pesticides are also becoming more concentrated leaving less residual product.
The 2011 Clean Sweep Program served nearly 40,000 residents in safe disposal of 2,134,781 pounds of household hazardous waste – an average of nearly 54 pounds per person. Table 3 shows the top five HHW products collected. There were seven more HHW grants sought in 2011 compared to 2010 with the number of residents served more than double the previous year. Chart 2 shows the total pounds of waste collected in each of the programs.
Household hazardous waste intake continued to outpace AW intake by about a 6:1 margin.
The Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (formerly the Wisconsin Crop Production Association) encourages their members to work with a recycling vendor to recycle 2½ to 5 gallon pesticide containers and mini-bulks. The companies, Container Services Network and West Central Inc., work with agricultural chemical dealers to collect empty, triple-rinsed containers for recycling. In 2011, 132,406 pounds of jugs and drums were collected in Wisconsin.
In addition to the HHW and AW grants, the department funded 18 Rx grant requests for about $102,000. At least 11,339 residents participated in drug collection events. Combined with permanent drug drop boxes, nearly 16 tons of unwanted drugs were turned in for disposal. Within that amount of collected drugs, 2,853 pounds were controlled substances. It’s not possible to determine the average pounds per participant because the number of people using the permanent drop boxes is not tracked, only the amount of drugs collection. Four of the 18 prescription drug grants were returned by local governments. Some received grants from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration for take back events and decided not to use the state grant. Another county was extremely short-staffed and while a drug collection was held, the county was unable to complete a final report necessary to claim their grant funds. This also means that their collection amounts are not included in the total.
The department participates on the Wisconsin Pharmaceutical Waste Working Group, whose mission is to reduce the negative impacts of pharmaceutical waste on Wisconsin's environment and communities. Group membership includes local government, healthcare, drug, regulatory and science professionals.
Direction for the Coming Year
Clean Sweep grants are issued to local governments for a calendar year. However, the funds for those grants are not available until July 1 of the contract year. During biennial budget years, the funds to honor the existing contracts are not assured until the budget bill is finalized. This can create some uncertainty for local governments. Program staff will explore alternative funding options for the calendar year 2013 grants.
Clean Sweep operates under ATCP 34 – Chemical and Container Collection. Staff will submit a request to open the rule for revision in 2012. The goal is to find ways to streamline the application and reporting process; create rules for the drug collection portion of the program and address inconsistencies between the program rule and state statute.
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