Safety & Stewardship

Ethical Management of Pesticide Containers Throughout Their Lifecycle

Safety is Our Priority

The ACRC is made up of many ag chemical-related companies, all of which are either members of or have embraced the concept of Responsible Care®. This is the way we bring responsible and ethical management to our products throughout their lifecycle. Lifecycle stewardship for our products starts with research and development, and includes manufacture, transport and storage, and extends through integrated pest management, responsible use and eventual disposal of waste, including empty product containers.

The ACRC is a tool of our industry in the United States that focuses on the empty container. This is shown by what is described in the ACRC Mission Statement:

The mission of the ACRC is to conduct research regarding potentially acceptable uses of rigid HDPE plastic agricultural crop protection, animal health, specialty pest control, micronutrient, biologicals, fertilizer, and/or adjuvant product containers (up to 56 gal) and to support the collection and recycling of containers through the promotion of cost-effective programs that foster public health and safety, environmental protection, resource conservation, and end-user convenience.

The ACRC, which was an instrumental resource in the development of the ANSI/ASABE S596 Standard, provides financial support to assist in the responsible collection of properly rinsed empty containers used by the ACRC member customer base. Through the use of contracts, our selection criteria, and our ongoing auditing process of contractors and processors, the ACRC is able to support a world-class collection and recycling program that promotes safety in action while helping to improve the overall environment.

Focus on Stewardship

The Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) is the oldest continuously operated voluntary industry-funded product stewardship program in the nation. The fact that more than eighty percent of the agricultural chemicals manufacturing industry has continuously supported significant levels of funding for more than 30 years is testimony to its success. ACRC’s recognition of supply chain stakeholder interdependence led to the institution of a product stewardship program based on coalition building that serves as a model for other industries to emulate. Exemplary coalition building and maintenance have resulted in agricultural chemical containers being the most highly recycled plastic package in the country.

ACRC stewardship of containers does not end with the collection.

To ensure that the collected plastic is handled safely during processing and used only in end uses that have minimal contact with humans, the ACRC audits all processing and end-use manufacturing facilities for compliance with all applicable health, safety, and environmental regulations. In addition, the ACRC Technical committee approves end uses on a case-by-case basis.

The ACRC continues to evaluate ways to make the recycling of agricultural chemical containers easier and more convenient.

Recognizing that the requirement to remove paper labels is a deterrent to recycling, the ACRC Technical Committee identified and evaluated plastic label/adhesive alternatives that would be recyclable, eliminate yield loss to the recycler, and increase the value of the recovered plastic. The ACRC has recommended to all member companies that they consider the usage of this label/adhesive combination.

Industry product stewardship initiatives are not limited to the recycling of non-refillable containers.

Adhering to the principles of the waste hierarchy, agricultural chemical manufacturers have adopted a multi-pronged approach to reducing product and packaging needs. First, ongoing research and development leads to the formulation of new chemistries that have vastly improved efficacy; i.e. far less pesticide is required to protect crops on far more acres of cropland. This simultaneously results in less packaging being required to meet crop protection needs. Second, the industry encourages applicator/grower use of refillable containers. In addition to the obvious benefits of re-use, these containers are larger and able to deliver more product per unit of packaging. Lastly, new initiatives to replace liquid pesticides with solid powders will lead to lower packaging requirements in the near future.