More than 2 million pounds of plastic pesticide containers have disappeared and no longer pose a threat to Nebraska's environment and landscape.
"To be more exact, 2.1 million pounds
which is well over 1,000 tons," said University of Nebraska-Lincoln pesticide safety educator Clyde Ogg.
That's the amount of empty, plastic pesticide containers UNL Extension's plastic pesticide container recycling program has helped collect and recycle from across Nebraska over the past 21 years.
The UNL program helps recycle 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers and 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical drums.
"These are farm and ranch pesticide containers that could otherwise end up stored in barns or sheds or be improperly disposed of by casting them aside on creek banks or burning them," Ogg said.
"The program's primary message has always been that it benefits everyone to find simple, cost-effective and cooperative ways to help properly dispose of these containers and keep them out of the environment and that message has been widely embraced.
"If responsibly and properly disposed of, such as through this program, the containers pose no future environmental risk."
Plastic from collected containers is turned into industrial and consumer products like shipping pallets, drain tile, dimension lumber and parking lot tire bumpers.
Last year, about 35 tons of containers were collected.
"Teamwork and cooperation has kept this program viable and successful. That and the commitment of a lot of people that increasingly understand that this is a simple and effective way to care for our environment," Ogg said, citing cooperation from UNL extension educators and collection site managers statewide.
"Most of the (collection) sites are at agricultural chemical dealerships or community recycling centers, which volunteer to take on this additional responsibility," he said.
The program accepts pressure-rinsed or triple-rinsed 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic pesticide containers. They must be clean and drained, inside and out. Caps, labels, booklets and slipcover plastic labels must be removed since they cannot be recycled as part of the program. Those items should be disposed of as normal, solid waste. Glued-on paper labels can be left on the container. Rinsate should be returned to the spray tank.
Of the 38 sites involved in the program, 21 accept 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic crop protection chemical, crop oil and adjuvant drums.
Drums must be thoroughly rinsed before delivery to collection sites and should not be cut or opened in any way. Mini-bulk, saddle tanks and nurse tanks, which can be made of fiberglass or plastics not compatible with the recycling program, are not accepted.
Nine sites collect year-around, 14 sites collect from May-August, 11 collect on specific dates and four are by appointment only.
Program funding is by a national coalition of agri-chemical manufacturers through the Agricultural Container Recycling Council, Washington, D.C.
County collection sites, by category, are listed below. Sites accepting 15-, 30- and 55-gallon plastic drums are noted.
Year-round collection sites:
Lincoln: City of North Platte Transfer Station, North Platte, Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Antelope: Central Valley Ag, Neligh, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Buffalo: Kearney Recycling Center, Kearney, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cuming: West Point Transfer Station, West Point, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon, 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dawes: Solid Waste Association of Northwest Nebraska, Chadron, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Knox: Central Valley Ag, Bloomfield, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Scotts Bluff: Gering Landfill, Gering, Normal business hours; accepts drums
Washington: Washington Recycling Center, Blair, Saturday 8 a.m. to noon, accepts drums.
Wayne: Central Valley Ag, Wayne, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
May-August collection sites:
Antelope: Central Valley Ag, Brunswick, Clearwater, and Elgin, accepts drums
Burt: Helena Chemical Company, Oakland
Dawson, All Points Cooperative, Lexington, accepts drums
Gage: Southeast Nebraska Cooperative, Beatrice; Holt: Central Valley Ag, O'Neill; accepts drums
Madison: Central Valley Ag, Tilden, accepts drums
Otoe: Midwest Farmers Cooperative, Syracuse, accepts drums;
Sarpy: Farmers Co-op, Gretna.
Saunders: Frontier Cooperative, Mead; accepts drums, Crop Production Services, Ashland, and Reid's Farmacy, Ashland.
Stanton: Farmers Cooperative, Pilger; accepts drums.
Sites collecting pesticide containers on specific days:
Cass: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Greenwood, July 1-31, 8-5 p.m., accepts drums, Midwest Farmers Coop, Nehawka, July 15-19, 8-5 p.m.
Clay: Cooperative Producers Inc., Sutton, Aug. 15 and 16, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
Dakota: Central Valley Ag, South Sioux City, June and July, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon (except holidays), accepts drums
Dixon: Central Valley Ag., Newcastle, May 9 & 23, June 6 & 13, July 3 & 17, Aug. 8 & 22, 8:00 to noon
Hamilton: Cooperative Producers Inc., Giltner, Aug. 1 and 2, 8-5 p.m, Aurora Cooperative, Aurora, July 22 thru 26, 8-5 p.m
Kearney: Cooperative Producers Inc., Minden, Aug. 6 thru 8, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; accepts drums.
Lancaster: Farmers Cooperative Co., Bennet, July 26, 9 a.m. to noon; Farmers Cooperative Co., Waverly, June 28, 9 a.m. to noon; both sites accept drums.
Otoe: Midwest Farmers Cooperative, Nebraska City, July 26 thru 30, 8-5 p.m., accepts drums.
Containers by appointment only:
Cass: Wiles Bros. Fertilizer, Inc, Plattsmouth, 402-298-8550; accepts drums.
Custer: Custer County Recycling Center, Broken Bow, 308-870-0313; accepts drums.
Gage: Crop Production Services, Beatrice, 402-223-5102, accepts drums.
Phelps: CHS Agri Services, Holdrege, 308-995-5511.
A full list of recycling sites, guidelines and program information and details is on UNL's Pesticide Safety Education Program Web site at http://pested.unl.edu/recycling.