August 15, 2014

Brazil Farmers Recycle 94% of Chemical Containers, Goal is 100%

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Brazil has made a concerted effort over the past decade to recycle empty containers of agricultural chemicals and the results of their efforts have been very impressive. According to the National Institute for Processing Empty Containers (Inpev), Brazilian farmers will recycle 94% of the empty chemical containers used by farmers in 2014, which by comparison is 17% more than the 77% of containers recycled in France.

The success of this program will be celebrated on August 18th, which is the tenth anniversary of the National Clean Field Day in Brazil. The National Clean Field Day, which will be observed in 23 Brazilian states, is the result of a long term cooperative effort between the chemical manufacturers association, chemical distributors, farmers, schools, local authorities, and community leaders concerned about the environment. The day is filled with educational and environmental events in schools and by local politicians.

Over the last decade the chemical industry and farmers have put together a Clean Field System of collection points in each agricultural state where farmers can drop off the empty containers. In fact, when a farmer purchases his agricultural chemicals, the sales receipt will list the nearest collection points to his farm as well as the dates and times of operation.

Take Mato Grosso do Sul for example. There are eight different official collection points throughout the state and many more staging areas where farmers can drop off their empty chemical containers. Farmers in the state have recycled 1,800 tons of empty containers between January and July of this year, which is 3.4% more than last year. By the end of the year they hope to reach 95% recycled and in 2015, their goal is to recycle 100% of the agricultural containers in the state.

Brazil's Clean Field System has been recognized around the world for it success of recycling these containers. Prior to the implementation of this system, most empty chemical containers were either burned or buried on the property resulting in localized contamination.