More than 40,000 empty pesticide containers were recycled in 2012 by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s pesticide container recycling program, which works to get the jugs out of the waste stream.
More than 286,000 containers have been recycled since the initiative began in 1993, with interest in the program rising every year among growers and commercial pesticide applicators, said David Pyne, pesticides administrator for the Department of Agriculture.
“Farmers and pesticide applicators work hard to help the environment and be good stewards of our resources, and this is a way we can help them do just that,” Pyne said. “This program is an excellent example of a cooperative public-private partnership.”
Every ton of high-density polyethylene plastic that is recycled saves what amounts to 450 gallons of gasoline, according to the Ag Container Recycling Council.
The containers are collected April through October and can be dropped off at the Sussex Conservation District maintenance yard near Georgetown on the third Thursday of those months, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They are inspected for cleanliness - triple rinsing or the equivalent - and labels should be removed, if not glued on.
The containers are baled and stored for shipment to a recycling plant where they are processed and the plastic is reused for items including fence posts, park benches, pallets and pilings. The plastic is not used in consumer packaging.
Farmers or commercial pesticide applicators with large quantities of containers - more than 100 jugs - should contact the department to arrange on-site pickup.
To arrange a pickup or drop-off, contact Chris Wade at 302-698-4574 or Kenda Galipo at 302-698-4571.