Pesticide Container Recycling Program

By Brandy VanDeWalle, UNL Fillmore County Extension Educator

According to the Nebraska Extension Pesticide Education Office, 2015 marks the 24th year of the Nebraska Extension Pesticide Container Recycling Program. The program recycles 1-and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers and 15-, 30-and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical drums.
“In 2014, the program recycled close to 35 tons of plastic containers,” said UNL pesticide safety educator Clyde Ogg. “In 23 years, we’ve recycled about 2.3 million pounds of plastic pesticide containers in Nebraska, more than 1,100 tons.”
“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,” Ogg said. “The program’s goal has always been to provide a cost-effective, cooperative and environmentally responsible way to properly dispose of and reuse these containers.”
Plastic from collected containers is turned into industrial and consumer products like shipping pallets, drain tile, dimension lumber and parking lot tire bumpers.
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.
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.
A full list of recycling sites, guidelines and program information and details is on UNL’s Pesticide Safety Education Program website at
 Program funding is by a national coalition of agri-chemical manufacturers through the Agricultural Container Recycling Council, Lexington, Virginia.   
The closest County collection sites, by category, are listed below. Sites accepting 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic drums are noted.

BUFFALO: Kearney Recycling Center, Kearney, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SAUNDERS: Frontier Cooperative, Mead, accepts drums, Reid’s Farmacy, Ashland.

CLAY: Cooperative Producers Inc. (CPI), Sutton, Aug.13-14, accepts drums..
HAMILTON: Cooperative Producers Inc. (CPI), Aurora, July 27-31, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Cooperative Producers Inc. (CPI), Giltner, July 30-31, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

      GAGE: Crop Production Services, Beatrice, 402-223-5102, accepts drums.

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