Wednesday, July 30, 2014
   
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Recycling program makes a difference

UNL schedules containers collection.

About two million pounds of empty plastic pesticide containers have been removed from the environment over the 19-year life of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program that helps collect and recycle these containers all across Nebraska.

“We hope to add to that total as the program enters its 20th year,” said 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. These are farm and ranch pesticide containers that might otherwise end up stored in barns, or be improperly cast onto creek banks or burned, Ogg said.

“It benefits everyone to find simple, cost-effective and cooperative ways to help keep these containers out of the environment and properly dispose of them,” Ogg said.

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 almost 50 tons of containers, contributing to the 19-year running total of about 1,000 tons of containers.

A full list of recycling sites, guidelines and program information and details is on UNL’s Pesticide Education Resources website.

Most of the collection sites are at agricultural chemical dealerships or community recycling centers, which volunteer to take on this additional responsibility, Ogg said.

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.

Year-around collection sites in the Gothenburg area include:

Dawson County—All Points Cooperative, Lexington, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; accepts drums.

Lincoln County—City of North Platte Transfer Station, North Platte, Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Of the 40 sites involved in the program, 27 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.

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.

Program funding is by a national coalition of agri-chemical manufacturers through the Agricultural Container Recycling Council, Washington, D.C.

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