100 Million Pounds, And Growing

In October 2008, the Ag Con­tainer Recycling Council (ACRC) celebrated the collection and recycling of 100 million pounds of triple-rinsed pesticide containers in a commemorative event held in Courtland, VA. To put this laudable accomplishment in perspective, consider:

•  If lined up end-to-end, the containers would circle the Earth 1.5 times.
•  It has provided energy savings equal to 20.25 million gallons of gasoline.
•  It has resulted in the reduction of 19,500 metric tons of carbon equivalent.
•  It has saved more than 500,000 cubic yards of valuable landfill space.

Founded in 1992 and completely funded since its inception by leading manufacturers of crop protection products, ACRC has continuously managed the collection and recycling of triple-rinsed plastic from agricultural crop protection, specialty pest control, micronutrient/fertilizer, and/or adjuvant product containers at a cost approaching $50 million. This model product stewardship program, arguably the oldest in the U.S., continues to serve as an exemplary model for other industries in the growing trend of being “green” and demonstrating sustainability.

State Support

The model program receives high praise from state and federal officials alike. “EPA commends ACRC and its member companies for their continuing leadership in the area of pesticide container recycling. Programs like this advance the nation’s public health and environmental protection goals and are a model for acting holistically to achieve sustainability consistent with our shared principles of corporate environmental stewardship,” says Nancy Fitz, chemical engineer, U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs. “The plastic pesticide container recycling program offers agricultural producers and custom applicators a convenient option for disposing of their empty pesticide containers.”

Holly Cushman, the Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction Program, Washington State Department of Ecology says: “This program, is environmentally-friendly, promotes public health and safety, and reduces waste. It is a win-win program for our environment and our neighbors.”

Now in its 18th year, ACRC — representing its 28 current member companies — has committed to funding the recycling of an additional 9 million pounds of pesticide containers in 2009. This would represent a recycling rate of approximately 35%; the highest rate for any type of plastic packaging in the U.S. To accomplish this objective, ACRC employs five independent contractors who service approximately 1,500 collection sites across the U.S. in a cost-effective manner that fosters public health and safety, environmental protection, resource conservation, and customer convenience. The limiting factor to collection is the participation of pesticide users and the availability of collection sites within reasonable driving distances.

Finding Funding

ACRC receives no government funding and is supported entirely by member company dues. ACRC conducts a survey of its members to determine what volume (weight) of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic they put in the U.S. marketplace annually as a result of crop protection product sales. Members are required to report sales of all products in HDPE containers that bear their label, even if another company made the product or filled the containers. Six categories of container sizes are included in the survey, ranging from less than 1 gallon to 55 gallons, which then is used to calculate the total annual weight of plastic placed on the market by the members. Dues are equitably assessed on each member’s share of plastic generated relative to other members of ACRC. All survey and dues data are held confidential.

Understanding ACRC

Is every pesticide manufacturer a member of ACRC?
While not all companies that generate plastic containers are members of the ACRC, it is estimated that ACRC membership is composed of companies that sell over 85% of all pesticides sold in the U.S. Nevertheless, as a non-profit organization, ACRC collects and recycles all agricultural and specialty pesticide containers, whether they originated with a member company or not. While those companies that choose to join ACRC bear the full cost, the benefits resulting from this dedicated commitment to environmentally responsible container disposal are enjoyed by the entire industry.

What types of containers are accepted for recycling?
All non-refillable, HDPE #2 plastic crop protection and other specialty pesticide product containers are accepted in sizes up to and including 55 gallons. Pesticide users can find the closest collection site by visiting ACRC’s Web site at www.acrecycle.org, and calling the ACRC contractor that services the user’s state.

Containers must be empty, triple-, or pressure-rinsed, and dry both inside and outside before they can be accepted at the collection site.

How are containers collected?
ACRC contractors collect containers from growers, retailers, applicators, and government-sponsored collection sites in 40 states. Contractors provide service to collection sites on an established schedule; inspecting containers to certify that they have been triple rinsed before grinding them into “flakes.” Flakes are blown directly into enclosed shipping containers on site. Contractors continue on prescribed routes from site to site aggregating truck load quantities before transporting the plastic to their storage facilities.

How are the containers recycled?
Chipped containers are shipped to plastic processors who wash the plastic flake to remove paper and other contaminants. The clean recycled plastic that results is then sold to ACRC-approved end-users that use the plastic in ACRC-approved end use products. To ensure that there are no environmental, public health, or safety concerns associated with the plastic, ACRC has conducted extensive risk assessment studies. In addition to risk analysis on end-use products, ACRC has conducted studies to monitor worker exposure to pesticides during the processing (grinding, mixing, and extrusion) of plastic obtained from emptied pesticide containers. Exposure studies were carried out during the fabrication of samples used in the study as well as at two facilities where recovered plastic was being processed. All plastic collected in ACRC’s recycling program is used in a very limited number of approved safe end uses. Currently, most of the recycled plastic is used in the manufacture of field drain tile.

ACRC is continually trying to expand the reach of the program through promotion at state agri-business conferences and national conferences such as the Ag Retailers Association. ACRC’s mission is to educate users how easy it is to rinse and return their containers to be recycled. Retailers can play a critical role by providing their customers with convenient and user friendly location to drop off their triple-rinsed containers.

If you have an interest in demonstrating your commitment to good pesticide stewardship to your neighbors or state and local regulatory agencies in an easy and highly visible manner, please call us toll-free at 877-952-2272 or visit our Web site, www.acrecycle.org.

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
StewardshipBayer Lands Honor For Bee Care Center, Other Initiatives
June 3, 2014
Bayer Corp. has been named a 2014 Responsible Care Company of the Year by the American Chemistry Council, thanks in large part to its Drive Toward Zero initiative and North American Bayer Bee Care Center. Read More
StewardshipStrip-Tillage: A Sustainable Effort
March 3, 2014
As sustainable agriculture grows in popularity, interest in custom strip-tillage is growing. Read More
StewardshipCTIC Granted Nearly $500,000 To Examine Benefits Of Cover Crops
October 17, 2013
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) has received a $482,000 Conservation Innovation Grant to study the benefits of cover crops. Read More

Trending Articles

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More

Latest News

Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More