Plastic pesticide containers are a risk to children on the farm and, if they leak, can harm streams and groundwater.
You can eliminate those risks by bringing in those containers to collect sites across Nebraska this spring and summer. University of Nebraska Extension is once again sponsoring pesticide container recycling program.
Clyde Ogg, UNL pesticide safety educator, says more than 2.1 million pounds of plastic pesticide containers have disappeared and no longer pose a threat to Nebraska's environment and landscape. It's the 22nd year for the program.
Collection sites will accept 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers and 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical drums. Those types of containers could end up stored in barns or sheds or be improperly disposed of by casting them aside on creek banks or burning them if they are not cleaned and taken a collection site, Ogg says.
"If responsibly and properly disposed of, such as through this program, the containers pose no future environmental risk," he adds.
Plastic from collected containers is turned into industrial and consumer products like shipping pallets, drain tile, dimension lumber and parking lot tire bumpers.
"Most of the (collection) sites are at agricultural chemical dealerships or community recycling centers, which volunteer to take on this additional responsibility," he Ogg says.
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 38 sites involved in the program, 21 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.
Nine sites collect year-around, 14 collect May through August, 11 collect on specific dates and four are by appointment only.