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Md. entering 16th year of recycling pesticide containers

May 20, 2008

ANNAPOLIS - For 15 years, Maryland's pesticide container recycling program, offered by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, has helped prevent pesticide residues from entering the soil and local waterways and has saved valuable landfill space by recycling nearly 525,000 empty, plastic pesticide containers.

The program will open its 16th year of operation in June, asking farmers, pesticide applicators and others to properly rinse and recycle their empty pesticide containers.

A total of 28 collection days are scheduled June through September at seven locations throughout the state.

"We are very pleased with the response by farmers, commercial applicators and other pesticide users to this program," said Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson. "It is a win-win situation for everyone, helping our agricultural businesses offering a free way to dispose of pesticide containers, protecting the environment, and providing a source of recycled material for vendors. As the word has spread about the benefits of the program, participation has consistently increased."

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The pesticide container recycling program is free and open to all agricultural producers and pesticide applicators. The Agricultural Container Recycling Council (ACRC) provides a chipper to grind the plastic containers into flakes, which are then transported to a contractor for recycling. The containers collected in Maryland have yielded more than 220 tons of recyclable plastic flakes.

"We are especially pleased with the cooperative effort of the ACRC and USAg Recycling, Inc., which makes local recycling and special pick up for large quantities possible, providing a convenient and much cheaper alternative to landfill disposal," said Richardson.

Maryland's container recycling program is a combined effort of state, county and federal agencies, as well as private industry, working together to protect the environment.

With cooperation between MDA and Mid-Shore Regional Solid Waste Facility, Kent County Public Works, Wicomico Public Works, Frederick County Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Harford County Public Works, Crop Production Services-Denton, Southern States Centreville, Hampstead, and Kennedyville Cooperatives, Martin's Elevator, Angelica Nurseries, Inc., The Mill of Black Horse, Willard Agri Service Inc., Chesapeake Ag. Air, Tim's Aerial Applications, Eddie Mercer, Inc., Maryland Environmental Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, and Maryland farmers and applicators, the program has been effective in reducing the landfill disposal of plastic pesticide containers and in allowing the plastic to be reused.

A schedule of collection dates and sites is available on the MDA Web site at www.mda.state.md.us/pdf/recycle.pdf. For additional information, or to schedule a chipping date at your site, contact Rob Hofstetter, Special Programs Coordinator, Pesticide Regulation Section, Maryland Department of Agriculture in Annapolis at 410-841-5710.

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