Success Found in Environmental Stewardship Programs

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Earth Day, recognized annually on April 22, is a time for people around the globe from all walks of life to demonstrate their contribution towards a cleaner and healthier environment. Fifty-four years ago, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wis.) had the vision of organizing a movement focused on bringing national attention to environmental issues across America. In 1970, the first Earth Day was proven successful as over 22 million Americans participated in demonstrations and events across the nation, which spurred political activism from that point forward. As with other officially recognized days, celebrations can easily turn into organized events held over several days.

I wanted to share North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center’s, efforts involving two environmental programs to help make Robeson County a little cleaner and greener. The first event was a free Pesticide Disposal Day, held on April 24th at the Robeson County Fairgrounds. Working in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program, a private contractor collected over 5,000 pounds of pesticide from area farmers, landscapers, and homeowners. The goal of this is program is to assist citizens by managing and supervising the safe collection and lawful disposal of banned, outdated, or unwanted pesticides. What a great way to keep this item from being disposed of improperly.

Crop protection products are one of many tools used to help protect a plant from pest such as weeds, insects, and diseases. What happens to all the containers after these products have been used? Another year-round environmental effort is the Pesticide Container Recycling Program. N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, and Robeson County Solid Waste are working together to provide seven collection sites for recycling properly cleaned pesticide containers at no charge used by farmers and commercial applicators such as golf courses, nurseries, municipalities, pest control, and lawn care companies. The seven designated collection sites are located at:

  • 1884 Balance Farm Road, St. Pauls
  • 459 Beaver Dam Road, Maxton
  • 584 Branch Road, Lumberton
  • 66 Alma Road, Maxton
  • 3096 Midway Road, Maxton
  • 3141 Lowe Road, Lumberton
  • 182 Lamb Road, Lumberton

Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) is a non-profit 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. Recycled containers are used to manufacture items such as agricultural drainage tile, industrial pallets, pesticide containers, speed bumps, and dock and sea wall pilings.

To be acceptable for recycling, HDPE plastic crop-protection containers embedded with recycling symbol #2 or #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. 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. Be sure to keep cleaned containers dry and out of the rain until delivery can be made. Keeping          crop- protection containers out of your normal household plastic recycling will help prevent them from being used in non-approved end use products and extend the life of our landfills.

For more information, contact Mac Malloy, County Extension Director and Field Crop Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at (910) 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website.