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

Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
Chesapeake Bay
StewardshipKeeping A Watch On Water Issues
February 2, 2016
During a down cycle in the market, it’s difficult to think about investing for the long term. For retail businesses, Read More
FertilizerFort Wayne 4R Farming Event Set For February 12
January 29, 2016
The Nutrient Stewardship Council will host a complimentary “4R Farming 4 Sustainability” educational workshop Feb. 12 in Fort Wayne, IN, Read More
LegislationARA, TFI: Retailers Urged to Consider PSM Compliance
January 20, 2016
In December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised Interim Enforcement Policy addressing enforcement of Process Safety Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop Protection Products in storage
Crop InputsNewsweek: World Is ‘Awash In Glyphosate’
February 11, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become Read More
Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
ManagementThe latest on Syngenta-ChemChina Deal
February 11, 2016
Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf invites Jackie Pucci and Dave Frabotta from sister publication AgriBusiness Global to discuss the latest developments Read More
AdjuvantsUniversity of Illinois Confirms Adjuvant’s Perfor…
February 11, 2016
An independent University of Illinois study has shown that WETCIT adjuvant, now with TransPhloem technology, provides greater herbicide uptake and Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta’s Acuron Flexi Receives EPA Approval
February 11, 2016
Growers looking to control their toughest weeds with flexibility will have access to Acuron Flexi corn herbicide from Syngenta, now Read More
EquipmentAGCO Showcases White Planters 9800VE Series Planters AT…
February 11, 2016
AGCO unveiled the new White Planters 9800VE Series planter during the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. The Read More
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More