2020 Agricultural Container Recycling Schedule
By Travis Cleveland, adapted from an Illinois Department of Agriculture July 15, 2020 press release.
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The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced the single day collection sites and dates for the 2020 Pesticide Container Recycling Program. Dates and locations are available on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website.
Year-round disposal is available at two permanent collection sites. Please call to ensure the facility will be open.
- Carrollton, IL. CHS Inc., contact Bryan McMurtrie, 217-942-6991
- Lawrenceville, IL. Klein Flying Service, contact Robert Klein, 618-884-1040
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers and agrichemical facilities to save their empty agrichemical containers. Beginning in late July, and continuing in August, sites throughout the state will collect containers. The containers will be recycled to make shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing, plastic lumber and other useful products. Over 1.6 million pounds of plastic have been collected since the program started more than 20 years ago.
Metal and household pesticide containers are not eligible for the recycling program. Collection sites will accept only high-density polyethylene, #2 plastic agrichemical containers that are clean and dry. Participants are responsible for rinsing them and removing all caps, labels, booklets and foil seals.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture sponsors the program in conjunction with the Agriculture Container Recycling Council, GROWMARK, Inc., the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Container Services Network, Illinois Farm Bureau, and University of Illinois Extension.
To obtain a free brochure about the program, call the Illinois Department of Agriculture toll free at 1-800-641-3934.
Preparing pesticide containers for recycling:
Rinsing right after use is the best way to ensure a clean container. Depending on what system fits your operation, you can either triple rinse or pressure rinse your containers. Your local agricultural chemical dealer can give you more information about pressurized rinse systems.
- Fill the empty container about 20% full with water.
- Replace cap securely and shake the contents to rinse all inside surfaces.
- Pour rinse water into spray tank and drain for at least 30 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1-3 twice more until container is clean.
- Inspect the container (inside and out) for formulation residues. Repeat as needed.
- Use a special nozzle attached to a water hose.
- Hold the container upside down over the spray tank with the cap removed. Puncture side of container with the pointed nozzle.
- Pressurized water cleans the inside surfaces while the rinsate flows into the spray tank.
- Rinse for 30 seconds or longer while rotating the nozzle to rinse all surfaces.
Inspect the container (inside and out) for formulation residues. Repeat as needed.
Summer Storage of Pesticides
By Maria Turner
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Proper storage of pesticides is essential for protecting not just the chemical but also animals and people. Some items to consider are the container, temperature, and location of the storage of the pesticides. These conditions can have an impact on their shelf life.
Temperature extremes in the pesticide storage area can potentially pose several problems. Extreme temperatures can change the chemistry of some pesticides inside their containers, as well as potentially damage the container itself. We often worry more about freezing and thawing than extreme heat, but often don’t think of storage conditions in vehicles. Our trucks, tractors, and other application equipment are not a place for daily storage during the application season. Be sure to take out what will be needed for the day and park in the shade so that the product does not reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature range for storing liquid pesticides is typically between 40 to 100 degrees. Check the pesticide label for specific temperature ranges for storage.
Temperature extremes can reduce the effectiveness of pesticides. In the summer, excessive heat can cause some pesticides to volatilize and drift away from the storage site. Additionally, some pesticides are flammable. Excessive heat can also damage the integrity of the pesticide container. High temperatures can cause plastic containers to melt and some glass containers to explode.
Regardless of the season, pesticides should always be stored in the original container. The container is specifically designed to store and protect the product; an alternate container might not be able to do the same. Whether it is the thickness of the material or the lid type that matters, the original container is always best. Be sure to keep the original label affixed to the container. This will provide information on proper storage, disposal, application, ingredient names, as well as any emergency information needed. Don’t leave it up to memory, if the label falls off, stains, or tears. Be sure to contact a dealer for a new container/or label. Labels can be found online but the version may not be for the product you have. It’s best to consult with the manufacturer for guidance, and once a replacement label is obtained, attach it to the container. If storage information cannot be found on the label, contact the manufacturer of the pesticide.
For more information about storage, be sure to check out the National Pesticide Information Center’s website or the article by the University of Missouri Extension, “Temperature Effects on Storage of Pesticides”.
Is it Spray Drift and What Do I Do?
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On average, each year the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) receives approximately 120 pesticide misuse complaints, of which 60% are pesticide drift complaints. Many of you know that the number of complaints has been much higher in recent years due to the allowed use of dicamba on soybeans and the apparent extreme sensitivity of surrounding plants to small amounts of dicamba. Detailed label restrictions were quickly put into place to reduce the incidence of drift with those products. Regardless, drift complaints have been around for as long as pesticides have and certainly, dicamba is not the only one to blame. It’s July and we are in the midst of the growing season for gardens, landscapes, and field crops. At this point, thousands of acres have been sprayed with herbicides and the emails concerning possible herbicide injury to non-target plants have started to come in.
With the physical off-target movement of pesticides, prevention is key. Applicators should take steps to prevent physical drift and most do. No applicator wants their pesticide to move away from the intended location. Neighborly discussions before pesticides are applied are important so applicators understand if sensitive plants are growing near the application site. In the unfortunate case that drift has occurred, it’s a good idea to know the basics of the complaint process and what resources are available to you.
Before doing anything, both parties should make an effort to discuss the suspected drift incident and rule out other possible causes of the damage. In cases where the cause of the damage remains unclear or where the parties will not work together, a formal complaint may be necessary.
The IDOA and University of Illinois Extension have important but different roles in assisting citizens of Illinois in dealing with pesticides. These roles are based on the IDOA’s responsibilities to administer and enforce the laws related to the use of pesticides and University of Illinois Extension’s responsibilities to educate and solve problems.
“The University of Illinois Plant Clinic does not perform pesticide residue testing. Plant Clinic staff will examine plants to identify pests and pathogens present on the sample which could be causing the symptoms. This allows clients to rule out other possible causes for the injury. Staff and specialists can also note if the symptoms on the sample are consistent with the applied chemicals listed on the sample submission form. Due to COVID-19, the Plant Clinic operations have changed a bit and staff may be limited. Please contact the Plant Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about sample submission and shipping.”
The IDOA has three roles that impact its handling of pesticide-drift complaints. These roles are (1) education and licensing of applicators and operators via the Pesticide Safety Education Program, (2) investigation of complaints, and (3) enforcement of pesticide laws. The roles of IDOA are determined by laws and statutes passed by the Illinois legislature or the federal government.
If you choose to file a complaint with IDOA, time is of the essence. The pesticide drift complaint process is started by filling out a pesticide misuse/incident complaint form or by calling IDOA's Bureau of Environmental Programs at 1-800-641-3934 (voice and TDD) or 217-785-2427. Due to limited staffing from COVID-19, you may need to leave a detailed phone message. Additional information on pesticide uses and misuses can be found on the agency’s website.
Complaint forms must be received by IDOA within 30 days of the incident or within 30 days of when the damage was first noticed. Complaints filed after that will be kept on record, but no administrative action can be taken.
The complaint process
Once a complaint is filed with the department, a field inspector is assigned the case. In most cases, the inspector will interview the complainant and inspect the site. Various types of samples, such as plants, water, or soil, may be collected for analysis at IDOA’s in-house laboratory.
Due to COVID concerns this season, field inspector contact with complainants and applicators will mostly be limited to phone conversations unless proper social distancing guidelines can be maintained.
The inspector may also interview applicators in the area, examine pesticide records and collect weather data in an attempt to determine the nature and cause of the damage. The field investigator will then submit a report to the Department for review.
Both parties will receive written notification if the Department finds a violation and takes an enforcement action. Penalties range from advisory or warning letters to monetary penalties of $750 to $10,000, depending on the type and severity of the violation. Penalties are determined through a point system defined in the Illinois Pesticide Act.
Even if a violation of the Illinois Pesticide Act cannot be substantiated, both the complainant and the alleged violator will be notified in writing of the complaint's status. Remember, the Department's role in pesticide misuse incidents is limited to determining whether a violation has occurred. IDA cannot help complainants recover damages.
Certainly, it is easiest and best to prevent physical herbicide drift from occurring. Drift can be extremely expensive and often results in poor neighbor relations.
Additional information for use when handling potential drift injury
A free, useful resource that includes information and helpful tips on preventing and dealing with the off-target movement of herbicide applications is an online module titled, “Herbicide Tolerant Crop Stewardship”. Especially useful would be chapter 5, “Avoiding/Handling Injury.” While it was created with producers in mind, it would also be beneficial to homeowners, gardeners, and really anyone who grows plants.
Another useful resource for sale is the booklet, Field Guide to Herbicide Injury on Landscape Plants. This guide can assist with the challenging task of diagnosing herbicide injury. It features photographs of specific injury symptoms that resulted from a field trial of various ornamental and vegetable species.
Dicamba and Where We Are Now
By Maria Turner
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On June 3, 2020, a ruling for the immediate cancellation for the registrations of Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia was issued in the case of National Family Farm Coalition vs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Case No. 19-70115, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On June 8, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final cancellation order for these three dicamba products. The EPA’s final cancellation order outlines limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products may be used. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) created an FAQ on how to handle the use of existing stocks, as use of these products must be consistent with the previously-approved labeling. In Illinois, the application cutoff date was extended from June 20 to June 25, 2020 to help growers use existing stocks.
Any remaining product must now be returned to the registrant or disposed of following the registrant's instructions for disposal. Be sure to check with the registrants for guidance. Tavium is not subject to the cancellation order since it was not included in the EPA’s 2018 registration decision, but an applicator must follow all label requirements, including the Illinois 24c Special Local Need Label application restrictions.
So how will this impact the misuse and complaint numbers for 2020? The short answer is that we are not sure yet. The 2020 cutoff date was 30 days earlier than last year leaving a much shorter window for application. Doug Owens with the IDA reported the number of dicamba complaints as of July 17, 2020 is 71. This is considerably less than in 2019 at this time, but with the delayed planting last season and extended deadline for use of dicamba until July 15, 2019 the numbers are not synchronous. We will know in a couple more weeks if dicamba can maintain a “social distance” between neighboring fields for this season.
IDA press release, 6/11/20
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The development and publication of this newsletter has been supported with funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Michelle Wiesbrook, Extension Specialist, Pesticide Safety Education
The Illinois Pesticide Review is published six times a year. For more information about pesticide safety or for more issues of this newsletter, please visit us at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu. You can also reach us at 800-644-2123.
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