Making the Switch
Increased awareness of pesticide hazards, from the decline of honey bees and wild pollinators, to international recognition of the carcinogenic properties of the common herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), has encouraged residents throughout the United States to seek out alternatives that do not put human health or the environment at unnecessary risk. These residents are engaging in grassroots activism, encouraging their neighbors, city officials, and local businesses to eschew toxic synthetic pesticides in favor of holistic management practices and least-toxic and organic products. As more and more communities enact laws restricting pesticides, and local residents seek out these alternatives, it is critical that local hardware and garden stores participate in this movement by supplementing and replacing their stock of toxic pesticides with products that promote a natural systems approach to lawn care. (Download a brochure version of this website to print here.)
Forward looking businesses such as Eldredge Lumber and Hardware in York, Maine, are indeed Making the Switch, and clearing their store shelves of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Eldredge is encouraging consumers to employ alternatives by consciously stocking their shelves with organic compatible products. "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. Efforts by local businesses to stock alternatives and educate consumers on their use is a wonderful example of creating change through grassroots efforts and a bottom-up approach, and offers an alternative to big-box stores focused simply on replacing products. Beyond Pesticides has produced the video Making the Switch, which highlights Eldredge Lumber and Hardware's efforts to orient its customers towards safer management practices. For additional press and information on Eldredge Lumber and Hardware, see these articles featured in the South Portland Press and the Seacoast Online.
What's in Stock? (Click on the following links for product categories and examples)
A Well-Stocked Hardware Store
To assist local garden centers and hardware stores in transitioning their customers to holistic lawn care practices, Beyond Pesticides has crafted the “Well-Stocked Hardware Store,” which provides the products and tools necessary to support a move to healthy, organic landscapes. This guide fits in with Beyond Pesticides’ Model Pesticide Policy and Implementation Plan for Communities, but can be used independently for hardware stores looking to encourage the use of products and practices that protect the health of their customers, community, and the wider environment.