Recycling Pesticide Containers Made Easy!

— Written By and last updated by Penny McCartney

By: Mac Malloy
Extension Field Crops Agent
N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center

Another growing season has begun, although some would argue off to a slower start than normal. Field activities are at full throttle including spraying equipment moving around the fields, golf courses, nurseries, athletic parks, and lawns. Crop protection products are one of many tools used to help protect a plant from pests such as weeds, insects, and diseases. But what happens to all the containers after these products have been used?

Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) is a nonprofit organization, started in 1992 that works to facilitate the collection and recycling of one-way rigid High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic agricultural crop protection, specialty pest control, animal health, micronutrient/fertilizer, and/or adjuvant product containers. According to the ACRC website, funding is provided by company members that formulate, produce, package, or distribute crop protection and other pesticide products by collecting dues determined by the weight of HDPE plastic they put in the U.S. market-place annually. Recycled containers are used to manufacture items such as agricultural drainage tile, industrial pallets, pesticide containers, speed bumps, and dock and sea wall pilings.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center and the Robeson County Solid Waste are working together to provide four collection sites at no charge for containers used by farmers and commercial applicators such as golf courses, nurseries, municipalities, pest control, and lawn care companies. The four designated collection sites are located at:

– 3141 Lowe Road in Lumberton
– 182 Lamb Road in Lumberton
– 66 Daystorm Road in Maxton
– 3096 Midway Road in Maxton

To be acceptable for recycling, HDPE plastic crop protection containers embedded with recycling symbol #2 or sometimes #7 up to 55 gallons in size must be empty, clean, uncapped, and dry. Containers should be cleaned by pressure rinsing or triple-rinsing while emptying the contents into your sprayer tank. Pressure rinse nozzles may be available at each designated site while supplies last. Inspect the containers immediately after rinsing to make sure all the formulation has been rinsed out. Be sure to check the pour spout, spout threads, and container walls to make sure they are free of residues that flake, smear or come off when touched with a glove. Remove all non-HDPE materials such as label booklets, metal rings or handles, and container caps. Discard these items as normal solid waste. Never put caps on cleaned containers! Be sure to keep cleaned containers dry and out of the rain until delivery can be made.

Unfortunately, not all containers can be accepted. Containers that originally held veterinary products, consumer products, or home and garden crop protection products are not accepted. It is best to not offer these items for recycling and discard as solid waste. Keeping crop protection containers out of your normal household plastic recycling will help prevent them from being used in non-approved end use products.

For more information, please contact Mac Malloy, Extension Field Crops Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 910-671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website at

Written By

Photo of Mac MalloyMac MalloyExtension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops (910) 671-3276 mac_malloy@ncsu.eduRobeson County, North Carolina
Posted on May 15, 2013
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