Free Pesticide Container Recycling

— Written By

Commercial pesticide applicators wishing to eliminate disposal fees associated with delivery of empty pesticide containers to the landfill as well as aid the economy by recycling these containers into agricultural field tile or other usable products may do so by delivering these containers to the pesticide container recycling facility located at Nutrien’s office in Vanceboro at 8542 Main Street. This facility is free and open from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services is partnering with N.C. Cooperative Extension in Craven County and Nutrien Ag Solutions to provide this free service. Funding to establish the facility was provided from the Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund. US Ag Recycling provides free chipping service and hauling. The reuse of these containers rather than disposal into the landfill will:

  • Reduce agricultural producer disposal fees;
  • Extend life of landfill by diverting these containers for reuse;
  • Recycle resources by using the chipped plastic materials to create plastic pipes or drains to be utilized within the agricultural community, pavement or other approved uses; and,
  • Save energy cost by reuse of existing plastic rather than creation of new plastic.

Non-refillable, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic crop protection and specialty pesticide product containers up to 55 gallons in size that are triple-rinsed or pressure rinsed will be accepted. Caps, the label booklet, and other non-HDPE parts (such as metal handles or rubber linings) must be removed before delivery since these materials cannot be recycling through the chipping process. Empty pesticide containers must be dry. No container with liquids will be accepted.

Proper pressure rinsing should take no more than 30 seconds to 1.0 minute for most pesticide products. Simply pour the pesticides into the tank, puncture the empty container with a pressure nozzle capable of at least 40 psi and allow the rinsate to fall directly into the tank. Run the pressure nozzle until pesticide residues are no longer visible within the container and the rinsate is clear. More detailed instructions are available at US Ag Recycling. Additionally, the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) provides a checklist with images and instruction. This publication is offered in English and Spanish at the links below.

ACRC English Inspection List

ACRC Spanish Inspection List

Additional resources

NCDA&CS Pesticide Container Recycling Program

Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund

Ag Container Recycling Council

US Ag Recycling

Email the Author: mike_carroll@ncsu.edu