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Daily News Blog

02
Feb

Local Hardware Store Acts to Protect Bees, Promote Natural Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2016) Boulder, Colorado’s McGuckin Hardware is setting an example for hardware stores across the country by removing bee-toxic neonicotinoids from its store shelves, and working to reorient its customers toward natural, holistic practices. McGuckin’s change is the latest in a movement among local hardware businesses to take a stand against toxic pesticides that are harmful to pollinators and unnecessary to control problem pests. “We wanted to be one of the first to get rid of them,” said Steve Wilke, McGuckins marketing communications specialist in a piece published in Hardware Retailing, a newsletter run by the North American Retail Hardware Association.

Local and national advocates are praising McGuckin’s shift away from products that harm pollinators. “People are very excited about the dramatic steps McGuckin’s has taken to get neonics out of our environment,” said David mcguckinWheeler of the local pollinator-advocacy organization Bee Safe Boulder. Bee Safe Boulder is a coalition of concerned Boulder residents that successfully fought for the passage of a pollinator resolution in the City of Boulder, Layfayette, and Boulder County, Colorado. The organization also has a project aimed at encouraging local retailers to stop selling plants coated in neonicotinoids; 18 retailers in the area, including McGuckin Hardware, have signed the group’s pledge.

Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides, or whole plant poisons, taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed in the pollen, nectar, and dew drops it emits. They are also highly persistent, with research showing the potential for certain chemicals in the class, such as clothianidin, to have a half-life of up to 15 years. Study after study has showed significant cause for concern when it comes to pollinators and exposure to these pesticides. Although little substantive action on these chemicals has been taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency recently agreed that the pesticides do harm bees, though only in the limited situations and constrained scenarios that were actually investigated by EPA.

In 2014, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides and other allies released a report that found over half of garden plant samples purchased at major retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot contained neonicotinoid pesticides. In response, concerned residents donned bee outfits and took to the streets to encourage national retailers — Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace, and TrueValue, to remove toxic neonicotinoids and plants coated with the chemical from store shelves.

While national retailers have been responsive (Lowe’s and Home Depot have committed to phasing out neonicotinoids, and Ace has provided some indication it will move in that direction), local retailers such as McGuckin Hardware and Eldredge Lumber and Hardware in York, ME, have outpaced these chains. These stores are now working on educating customers on a systems approach to pest management, rather than one centered on toxic pesticides, or even least-toxic replacement pesticides. “It’s our hope that people will stop looking for that silver bullet approach,” said Steve Wilke of McGuckin. “We’re kind of treading carefully moving forward to prevent another (neonicotinoid) situation.”

Eliminating the sale of harmful pesticides doesn’t mean that retailers will have nothing left to sell their customers. Last year Beyond Pesticides released The Well Stocked Hardware store, an on-line toolkit with example products to help hardware stores replace their stock of toxic pesticides with products that support a systems approach. Beyond Pesticides also highlighted the actions of Eldredge Lumber through the video Making the Switch. You’re protecting your environment, you’re protecting your family, your children and grandchildren, and your neighbors. Nobody wants to have pesticides drifting into their front or year yard, and people are just loving it, they’re feeding into it. I couldn’t be happier,” says owner Scott Eldredge in the video.

Beyond Pesticides encourages concerned residents to share these materials and encourage your own local hardware store to follow suit. If they already are, let us know by sending an email to [email protected] For folks not near a forward-thinking hardware business, see the comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as live plants and seedlings.

Source: Hardware Retailing

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

 

 

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