Pesticide container collections completed

Pesticide container collections completed The South Dakota Department of Agriculture with the assistance of the Cooperative Extension Service have completed the annual one-day collections for pesticide containers. Thirty-two collections were held across the state this year to make it easier for those wishing to participate. While more sites were available, the total number of containers collected was down from previous years.

Tim Hagen, pesticide program specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, stated that 35,885 containers were collected during the five weeks of the program. An additional 5,441 containers were collected at the Recycling Center in Vermillion.

The number of containers offered for recycling have dropped off in the last two years after reaching a peak of 66,000 containers collected in 1997. According to Deena Murphy, interim Extension pesticide education coordinator, the reduced number of containers collected can be contributed to the increasing amount of "Round-Up Ready" crops being planted and to the increased use of bulk packaging.

Hagen agrees that the popularity of the "Round-Up Ready" crops has significantly decreased the number of containers, but, also states that many of the people who had participated in the program in the past, have chosen to utilize their local landfills or burning the containers as a method to get rid of them. "I spoke to several dealers and farmers who stated that they did not have their containers cleaned up yet, and that they would either burn them or send them to the landfill." While these practices are allowed, all applicators are reminded that all containers must be properly cleaned before burning, landfilling or recycling. Failure to properly clean containers can lead to serious environmental problems and may also earn the violators a substantial fine.

Murphy reminds applicators that it takes much less time to rinse the containers immediately after emptying them, than it does to rinse a whole pile of containers that have been sitting in the corner of the shop, garage or chemical warehouse for several days. Murphy also states that products that are allowed to dry inside of the containers become very difficult to remove and disposal of dirty containers may be illegal.

The pesticide container recycling program is offered annually during the month of July across the state at no charge to applicators. There are also two permanent collection sites that will take containers by appointment. Those sites are located in Vermillion at the recycling center and in Pierre at the South Dakota Department of Agriculture's new pesticide container recycling center.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Service encourage applicators to utilize this program and these permanent collection sites to take care of their empty pesticide containers.

For more information, contact your local Extension Office or the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Services Division, 523 East Capitol Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501-3182; or call: 1-800-228-5254.

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