Recycling Pesticide Containers
Mark Mohr, Ext. Spec., Dept of Ag. Eng., Univ. of Illinois,
Is your chemical shed cluttered with empty triple-rinsed chemical
jugs? If you are wondering what to do with them, recycle them!
Plastic from pesticide containers can be recycled into a number
of products including pallets, new pesticide containers, fuel
for cement kilns, fence posts, roadside signposts, guardrails,
drainage tile, sewage tile and hazardous waste drums.
Only clean containers can be recycled. A container must be
rinsed, clean, and dry. For your safety, the safety of those
with the recycling process, and the safety of the consumer
of the recycled product, follow the checklist below. If not
and clean, your containers won't be accepted.
- Protection: Always wear protective clothing while
- Empty: Completely empty the pesticide container.
- Clean: Triple-rinse or pressure-rinse the container immediately
after use to prevent drying or caking of formulation
- Inspect: Inspect the container inside and around the
spout threads to ensure that it is free of formulation
residues. Clean but
stained (for example, due to Treflan) containers are
- Remove: Discard the cap, foil seal, and label from the
container, because they will not be accepted for recycling.
- Puncture: Render the container unusable by puncturing
- Type: Only containers made from high-density polyethylene
(HDPE) #2 plastic are acceptable for recycling.
- Keep container dry: The recycler will not accept a container
with liquid in it; keep containers out of the rain.
Here's the scoop on where to recycle your containers. One-day
collection points are scattered around Illinois during the
growing season. There are also five permanent collection sites
take containers for recycling, though anyone taking in containers
should call ahead. The sites are Illinois Valley Supply, Carrolton;
Monmouth Grain and Dryer, Monmouth; Effingham Equity, Altamont;
Randolph Ag Service Inc., Heyworth; and UAP/Richter, Atlanta.
More information and contacts can be found by calling (800)
641-3934 or by browsing online at www.agr.state.il.us/Environment/recycle.html.
More information on preparing pesticide containers for recycling
can be found at www.PesticideSafety.uiuc.edu under UI Extension "Pesticide
Container Preparation" fact sheet.