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

Young Corn Field
StewardshipStudy: Ohio Farmers Doing ‘A Good Job Of Managing’ Phosphorus Levels
September 27, 2016
Leaders from Ohio’s largest grain farming organizations announced today that Ohio farmers are doing their part in effectively managing phosphorus Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Greenhouse Gas Reductions
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Wilbur-Ellis Sedgwick Grand opening 2015
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Sedgwick Location
September 9, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Ford B. West Center For Responsible Agriculture, Asmark Institute
StewardshipResponsibleAg Conducts 1000th Audit
September 7, 2016
In less than two years ResponsibleAg has enrolled more than 2,100 facilities and recently completed its 1,000th audit. Yara’s West Read More
Trending Articles
AGCO RG700 cab
OpinionRoadblocks To Precision Ag Innovation
October 5, 2016
On August 29, I got to preside over the PrecisionAg Innovation Series event, “Game-Changing Advances in Precision Farming Technology,” developed Read More
J.C. Ramsdell containment system
EquipmentClear Opportunity In The Tank Market
October 4, 2016
Crop prices may be down, but steel prices are too — and that’s good news for retailers looking to add some Read More
WinField booth Farm Progress
Special ReportsTalking Weed Management Strategies At Farm Progress 2016
October 2, 2016
The annual Farm Progress Show — this year staged in Boone, IA — is always a great place to catch Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Latest News
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Industry NewsVive Crop Protection Closes Financing To Support Corpor…
October 11, 2016
Vive Crop Protection has announced the closing of growth financing to support 2017 commercial expansion. The financing was led by Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agri…
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Students Soybean Field
Eric Sfiligoj2016 Young Leaders Speak
October 10, 2016
One of the consistent cries in agriculture today is the need to try and connect with the younger generations, attempting Read More