Why and Where to Recycle Your Ag Pesticide Containers
When dropping off your clean agricultural pesticide containers for recycling at one of Nebraska’s 18 collection sites, you can feel good knowing the containers will be recycled into useful products that stay in the U.S.
Now in its 27th year, the recycling program encourages producers to bring clean, dry, intact containers to a nearby collection site. While there is no charge for the service, producers do need to triple- or pressure-rinse containers and drain them before dropping them off. (See How-to's for Prepping Pesticide Containers for Recycling.) Containers will be collected, ground up, and reused in industry-approved products such as drain tile, underground utility conduit, pallets, landscape edging, and nursery pots.
At Lexington’s Country Partners Co-op, regional sales agronomist Michael Voss credits producers for bringing in clean containers for recycling. Since containers can’t be used for anything else, Voss said recycling is a better alternative to burning them.
At collection sites, clean jugs are bagged and temporarily stored, often inside truck trailers. In the Midwest, G. Phillips & Sons (GPS) transports the jugs to Iowa City, Iowa. The family-owned company based in Stanwood, Iowa, processes nearly 500,000 pounds of scrap plastic per day.
Using stringent standards, GPS makes pallets for seed and ag chemicals produced in the U.S., said Stacey Bruinsma, GPS procurement manager. No GPS recycled plastic is exported, she added, so it doesn’t end up manufacturing something like children’s toys.
It takes 24 2.5-gallon jugs, with other plastics blended in, to make one 40-by-48-inch pallet, Bruinsma said, noting pallets last years and can be recycled again.
The Virginia-based Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) contracts with GPS and oversees the national pesticide container recycling effort for its 44 member states.
ACRC Executive Director Mark Hudson said in 2017 Nebraska collected nearly 89,900 pounds of containers, approximately 28,000 pounds more than in 2016.
Nationally, ACRC contractors collected 11 million pounds of containers last year. ACRC programming is funded by crop protection product manufacturers and distributors.
To see a container preparation checklist, additional sites as added during the year, and more, see http://pested.unl.edu/recycling.