A pesticide container for agricultural use, after being used, can still contain up to 4% of the original product, which represents a potential poisoning hazard for humans and animals, and contamination of the environment due to chemical residues.
For this reason, through the internal audits performed by Eleven Rivers, handling these empty containers is a practice being evaluated in order to prevent and protect human and animal health, and also the environment within the companies which are members of the Veggies From Mexico community.
When an agricultural pesticide is purchased, the farmer must verify the expiration date and COFEPRIS’ Coordinated Health Registration, which are printed on the product label. Finally, empty containers must be stored in a suitable place (temporary collection centers) so these can be washed and punctured while waiting to be taken to final confinement.
Single-use pesticide containers must not be reused or refilled once their content has been used due to their contamination potential. The only situation where a container may be reused is when filled with an identical product being transferred from another damaged container.
Washing saves money. An empty container may contain from 1.5% to 4% of its initial content. By rinsing and adding the residual wash into the tank, the pesticide is not wasted;
Recycling and disposing a washed container is less expensive. The contamination of the residual pesticide will be low enough for it to be classified as a non-hazardous waste.
A properly rinsed container minimizes the risks of soil contamination, surface and underground waters;
Rinsing the container after it has been emptied reduces the exposure potential to users, general public and animals;
Properly rinsed containers can be recycled into other products, instead of requiring their destruction as hazardous waste.
Washing containers is a key part of any single-use container management plan, as it reduces the hazards associated to subsequent processes and the risks these represent for public health and the environment.
The cleaning methodology to be used will depend on the physical and chemical characteristics of the pesticide. All the products which are emulsifying concentrates and water soluble are rinsed with water for cleaning, and the products made with oil must be rinsed with the help of certain solvents.
It is important to remember that when choosing the wrong cleaning methodology, the best thing that could happen is that it is ineffective, and the worst thing is that it is dangerous. For example, some pesticide formulations are reactive to water; and if triple wash is used, there may be a violent reaction.
It is essential that the effective rinse of containers is performed as soon as possible after using the pesticide. This will determine all subsequent activities.
Triple wash. Triple wash is the method to use when there is not one specific mechanical rinse equipment available.
Immediately after using the whole product, drain the empty container over the mixture tank for 30 seconds.
Add water to a quarter of the container.
Close the container and shake it for 30 seconds.
Pour the contents into the tank and let drip for 30 seconds.
Repeat these steps 3 times.
Puncture the container so that it cannot be used again. Let it dry and take it to the nearest collection center.
Pressure wash. It is the most efficient method to wash containers, providing a high degree of safety for the operator, as it is performed by using special equipment.
Currently, Campo Limpio has a LAPE Campaign (Wash, Save, Puncture and Deliver (o WSPD, en Inglés).
Separate per type of container: sturdy, flexible or metal; only sturdy containers will be triple washed, and all the containers are returned.
Flexible containers are not triple washed, as they should only be placed in transparent plastic bags.
LAPE campaign (o WSPD Campaign, en Inglés).
Once containers are taken to the collection center, they are prepared for their final destination, which is the last phase of the process for proper disposal of empty containers from products for crop protection and similar, which must be disposed in a place ensuring the comprehensive management of these wastes.
Traditional recycling, incineration, co-processing and melting are the final destinations ensuring environmental, technological, economic and social effectiveness necessary for a comprehensive waste management.
For example, with traditional recycling, some products can be manufactured such as: posts, stakes, pallets, bags to collect empty containers, manhole covers, agricultural sewer pipelines, hoses, tape, etc.
Remember that preserving a Clean Field (“Campo Limpio” in Spanish) is a shared responsibility between farmers, consumers, companies and the government!
For reference, here is the link to website: https://campolimpio.org.mx/