More than two million pounds of plastic pesticide containers have disappeared over the past two decades and no longer pose a threat to Nebraska's environment and landscape, says Clyde Ogg, University of Nebraska-Lincoln pesticide safety educator.
"We're going to keep adding to that total as the successful UNL Extension Pesticide Container Recycling Program begins year 23," says Clyde Ogg, who coordinates the program.
The UNL program helps recycle 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers and 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical drums. "These are farm and ranch pesticide containers that could otherwise end up stored in barns or sheds or be improperly disposed of by casting them aside on creek banks or burning them," he says.
Last year, the UNL program helped recycle about 35 tons of containers, contributing to the 22-year running total of well over 1,000 tons of containers.
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, booklets and slipcover plastic labels must be removed since they cannot be recycled as part of the program. Those items should be disposed of as normal, solid waste. Glued-on paper labels can be left on the container. Rinsate should be returned to the spray tank.
Of the 27 sites involved in the program, 16 accept 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical, crop oil and adjuvant drums. 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.
Eight sites collect year-around, nine collect May through August, six collect on specific dates, and four are by appointment only.
A full list of recycling sites, guidelines and program information is available on UNL's Pesticide Safety Education Program Web site at http://pested.unl.edu/recycling.