Bring in Empty Pesticide Containers for Recycling

Bring in Empty Pesticide Containers for Recycling

For 21 years, Nebraska program helps protect the environment by collecting old containers and drums.

Two million pounds of plastic pesticide containers no longer threaten Nebraska's environment and landscape. That's the amount of empty, plastic pesticide containers a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program has helped collect and recycle from across Nebraska over the past 20 years.

"We're going to keep adding to that total as this very successful and collaborative program begins its 21st year," says UNL pesticide safety educator Clyde Ogg, who coordinates the program for the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

The UNL program helps recycle 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers and 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical drums. 

Bring in Empty Pesticide Containers for Recycling

"These are farm and ranch pesticide containers that might otherwise end up stored in barns or sheds or be improperly disposed of by casting them aside on creek banks or burning them," Ogg says. "The program's primary message has always been that it benefits everyone to find simple, cost-effective and cooperative ways to help properly dispose of these containers and keep them out of the environment and that message has been widely embraced."

Plastic from collected containers is turned into industrial and consumer products like shipping pallets, drain tile, dimension lumber and parking lot tire bumpers. Last year, the UNL program helped recycle about 35 tons of containers.

A full list of recycling sites, guidelines and program information and details is on UNL's Pesticide Safety Education Program Web site at  

The program accepts pressure-rinsed or triple-rinsed 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers. They must be clean and drained, inside and out. Caps, labels and slipcover plastic labels must be removed since they cannot be recycled as part of the program. They should be disposed of as solid waste. 

Of the 42 sites involved in the program, 26 accept 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical, crop oil and adjuvant drums. These drums must be thoroughly rinsed before delivery to collection sites and should not be cut or opened in any way. Mini-bulk, saddle tanks and nurse tanks, which can be made of fiberglass or plastics not compatible with the recycling program, are not accepted.

Ten sites collect year-round, 12 collect May through August, 14 collect on specific dates and six are by appointment only. 

Before delivery to collection sites, containers and drums should be cleaned, rinsed and drained. Rinsate should be returned to the spray tank. Remove and properly dispose of booklets and caps from containers and remove and properly dispose of plastic shrink-wraps. Glued-on paper labels can be left on the container.

Collection sites, by category, are listed below. Sites accepting 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic drums are noted.

Year-around collection sites:

  • Buffalo: Kearney Recycling Center, Kearney, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
  • Burt: Helena Chemical Company, Oakland, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
  • Cuming: West Point Transfer Station, West Point, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 
  • Dawes: Solid Waste Association of Northwest Nebraska, Chadron, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 
  • Dawson: All Points Cooperative, Lexington, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; accepts drums;
  • Knox: Central Valley Ag, Bloomfield, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
  • Lincoln: City of North Platte Transfer Station, North Platte, Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
  • Scotts Bluff: Gering Landfill, Gering, normal business hours; accepts drums;
  • Washington: Washington Recycling Center, Blair, Saturday 8 a.m. to noon; accepts drums; 
  • Wayne: Central Valley Ag, Wayne, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

June-August collection sites: 

  • Antelope: Central Valley Ag, Brunswick, Clearwater, Elgin, Neligh and Tilden; accepts drums;
  • Gage: Crop Production Services; accepts drums, Southeast Nebraska Cooperative, Beatrice; 
  • Holt: Central Valley Ag, O'Neill; accepts drums; 
  • Saunders: Frontier Cooperative, Mead; accepts drums, Crop Production Services, Ashland, and Reid's Farmacy, Ashland. 
  • Stanton: Farmers Cooperative, Pilger; accepts drums;

Sites collecting pesticide containers on specific days:

  • Cass: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Greenwood, July 2-6, 8-5 p.m.; Midwest Farmers Coop, Nehawka, July 13-17, 8-5 p.m.; accepts drums;
  • Clay: Cooperative Producers Inc., Sutton, Aug. 16 and 17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; accepts drums
  • Dakota: Central Valley Ag, Emerson, June and July, Wednesdays, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.  (except holidays); Central Valley Ag, South Sioux City, June and July, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon (except holidays); both sites accept drums. 
  • Dixon: Central Valley Ag., Newcastle, June 7 and 21, July 5 and 19, Aug. 9 and 23, 8 a.m. to noon; Central Valley Ag., Wakefield, June 6 and 20, July 11 and 25, Aug. 10, 1-4 p.m. 
  • Hamilton: Cooperative Producers Inc., Giltner, Aug. 1 and 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Aurora Cooperative, Aurora, July 23-27, 8-5 p.m.; 
  • Kearney: Cooperative Producers Inc., Minden, Aug. 7-9, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; accepts drums
  • Lancaster: Farmers Cooperative Co., Bennet, July 27, 9 a.m. to noon; Farmers Cooperative Co., Waverly, June 22, 9 a.m. to noon; both sites accept drums;
  • Otoe: Midwest Farmers Cooperative, Syracuse, July 20-24, 8-5 p.m., Nebraska City, July 27- 31, 8-5 p.m.; both sites collect drums;

Sites collecting pesticide containers by appointment only:

  • Cass: Wiles Bros. Fertilizer Inc., Plattsmouth, 402-298-8550; accepts drums;
  • Custer: Custer County Recycling Center, Broken Bow, 308-870-0313; accepts drums; 
  • Gage: Farmers Cooperative, Odell, 402-766-4145; accepts drums; 
  • Lancaster: Lancaster County Extension Office, Lincoln, 402-441-7180; accepts drum; 
  • Phelps: CHS Agri Services, Holdrege, 308-995-5511; 
  • Sarpy: Farmers Co-op, Gretna, 402-332-3315. 
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