New life for old containers
By Daryl Starr and Terri Lawton
Indiana's annual pesticide recycling
program made stops at 17 locations around the state last
year. Farmers brought nearly 47,000 pesticide containers--nearly
35,000 pounds of plastic diverted from landfills that can
be put to productive uses.
containers are recycled into decorative fencing, park benches
After applying pesticides to fields, farmers often are
left with a lot of empty containers. Most of the plastic jugs end up
"Some farmers just throw the jugs out behind the
barn," according to Cedric Durkes, Purdue
Extension educator in Benton
As a result, residual product within the containers
can leak into groundwater, causing environmental damage, says Durkes.
The plastic jugs are not biodegradable either. Durkes is one of
several Extension educators across Indiana working to put the old
containers to a new use. Purdue
Extension, Indiana Farm
Bureau Inc., Indiana
Plant Food & Ag Chemical Association and Office
of the Indiana State Chemist sponsor a pesticide container recycling program
"The purpose of the collection is to give farmers
an outlet for the containers that they have collected during the
season," says Kevin Neal, Indiana
pesticide container recycling director.
From late July to early September nearly 47,000 containers
were collected at 17 locations throughout the state. This adds
up to almost 35,000 pounds of plastic diverted from landfills and
into productive uses.
The number of containers recycled was down by some
20,000 containers from last year. Neal believes increasing the
number of custom applicators/agricultural dealers who participate
in the program could significantly increase the volume of recycling.
Containers are taken to St. Louis and recycled into
fence posts, park benches and pallets, then sold to the public.