If you put off your "spring-cleaning" project around the barn or shop until fall, then it is time to swing into action.

Gather those old paint cans, flourescent bulbs, used petroleum-based lubricants, used oil filters, and old lead-acid batteries. Help with proper disposal may be coming to a location near your farm or ranch.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in conjunction with County Extension Offices in South and West Texas, will be conducting six collection days during the first two weeks of December. These collection events are open to all Texas residents who apply agricultural chemicals or have in their possession, banned or unwanted agricultural pesticides, including herbicides and fungicides. This is also an excellent opportunity for farmers and ranchers to bring in plastic pesticide containers that have been properly cleaned and triple-rinsed for grinding and proper disposal.

So don't let those old pesticide containers that have been sitting in storage so long that the product name on the label is difficult to read get any older. These disposal events are conducted in an effort to reduce exposure or accidental contact with harmful substances. For those who have pesticides in corroded or leaking containers, take time to place these items inside a couple of heavy plastic bags. Then place the bagged pesticide contents inside another leak proof container such as a plastic bucket or barrel with a tightly secured top for transport to the collection site.

Be sure to mark the exterior container "toxic" as a safety precaution should an accident occur while in transit to a collection site.

On Dec. 4 the first collection event will be held in Uvalde at the Helena Chemical dealership located at 4642 E. Main St. On Dec. 5, the collection site moves to Floresville at the Wilson County Precinct 1 Yard located at 142 FM 536, eight-tenths of a mile west of Business Loop 181.

Coastal Bend farmers and ranchers should plan to take advantage of the collection that will be held on Dec. 6. The site for this collection will be the Nueces County Memorial Agricultural Center, known by some as "the showbarn," at 900 E. Avenue J in Robstown.

During the second week of December, these collection events move west. On Dec. 11, the event will be held is Fisher County at the Texas Department of Transportation yard, 1.7 miles west of Roby on U.S. Highway 180. The following day, Dec. 12 , the collection site will be in Tom Greene County at Concho Valley Commodities, located at 5759 U.S. 87 south of Wall, Texas.

The last of the "Don't Dump on Texas!" recycling and waste pesticide collection days for 2007 will be conducted in Fredericksburg at the Gillespie County Warehouse yard located at 2254 N. U.S. Highway 87 on Dec. 13.

It is important to remember that not everything you might care to dispose of will be accepted at these TCEQ sponsored collection events. Don't bring materials that are neither hazardous or don't have toxic properties. This means that old fertilizers and soil activators along with micro-nutrient mixtures should be used in accordance with label instructions, if at all possible. They will not be accepted.

These sites will not handle radioactive materials. Do not bring any explosives, ammunition, compressed gas cylinders, or biomedical wastes to these collection events. The same is true for tires. No tires of any size will be accepted at these events.

Farmers - don't let this opportunity pass without taking advantage of one of these events.