The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) has announced the recycling of over a quarter-million pounds of empty plastic pesticide containers.

The 2010 Full Circle Plastic Pesticide Container Recycling Program collected and granulated a total of 266,246containers or approximately 268,642total pounds of properly-rinsed plastic pesticide containers at recycling sites throughout the state.

Farmers and commercial pesticide applicators in Alabama use thousands of pesticide products each year. All pesticide products are held in some type of container (plastic container, aerosol can, bait station, or bag). 

Most plastic containers are a little over a foot tall and occupy about half a cubic foot. That may not sound like a big deal but, consider there are over 600 structural pest control operators, 800 certified nurseries, 2,000 lawn care companies, and 8,000 private applicators in Alabama. That’s a lot of plastic that could be taking up valuable landfill space, being improperly dumped or burned. But there is an alternative — recycling.

The Department of Agriculture and Industries works in conjunction with the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) to collect and recycle non-refillable, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic crop protection and other pesticide product containers through the Full Circle Container Recycling Program.

The Full Circle Container Recycling Program is a non-profit, non-regulatory, consumer service program that provides cost-free assistance to farmers or commercial applicators. Since 1992, over 1240 tons (2,481,604 pounds) of containers have been recycled. 

Safe, environmentally friendly

According to Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan, “The department is excited to be a part of this program that provides farmers and commercial applicators a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of their used containers. We realize recycling saves valuable landfill space and protects the air from the unlawful practice of burning containers.”

How does the program work?

The Full Circle Program supports container collection programs statewide. Applicators bring their properly rinsed HDPE containers to collection sites where they are inspected and accepted free of charge. ACRC contractors grind the containers into flakes and ship this recovered resource to selected recycling facilities to make things like pallets and fence posts.

Are all containers acceptable?

Only non-refillable, HDPE plastic containers are accepted in the Full Circle Program. Home, garden, anti-microbial and veterinary products are not accepted. Containers up to and including 55 gallons are acceptable. All containers must be emptied, triple-rinsed or pressure-rinsed by he user, with the label and cap removed.

Who can participate in the program?

The Full Circle Program is designed exclusively for agricultural, professional, and commercial applicators of crop protection and other pesticide products. This program is not intended for recycling containers resulting from consumer household use. There are no fees of participating in the program and no payments are made for recycling containers.

How do I locate a collection site?

To find a collection site nearest you or to establish a site, contact:

• The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries at 1-800-642-7761.

• Visit the ACRC website at www.acrecycle.org.