Farmers are the first environmentalists. We farm in part because we love working the land and knowing our work means something – we are feeding our friends and neighbors. But, we understand that we have a special responsibility to maintain clean air, clean water, and fertile soils to sustain life.
As part of fulfilling that responsibility, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture operates the Rinse and Return Program, a voluntary, cooperative program that provides Kentucky farmers a safe, proper way to dispose of empty agricultural chemical containers at no cost. Under the Rinse and Return Program, the KDA collects used farm chemical containers from farmers and businesses. This material is reformed into many useful items such as agricultural drain pipe, highway sign posts, fence posts, and underground utility conduit.
Thanks to this program, the containers are kept out of landfills, and the product in the containers is prevented from leaching into the ground water and surface water. This program is an excellent example of the farm community working together to provide a vital public service.
The department has collected 1.6 million pounds of material since the program’s inception in 1991. Participation in the program is a Best Management Practice in Kentucky’s Agriculture Water Quality Plan developed by the state Agriculture Water Quality Authority, a board of agricultural and environmental interests appointed by the governor.
The collection process is fully funded by the KDA at no cost to producers. The recycling process is funded by the Ag Container Recycling Council (acrecycle.org), a not-for-profit organization that safely collects and recycles agricultural crop protection, animal health, and specialty pest control product containers. The council is fully funded by its member companies and affiliates.
The KDA website contains detailed instructions on properly rinsing agricultural chemical containers and a schedule of container pickup dates and locations for each county. Go to kyagr.com/consumer/pest-and-recycling.html to find out more.
The Rinse and Return Program is just one of many KDA functions that protect the environment and the consumer. We collect unwanted agricultural chemicals, inspect motor fuel pumps for accuracy, test motor fuel for octane and impurities, check price scanners, inspect amusement rides, calibrate scales used in commerce, and perform many other duties that affect every Kentuckian every day. Our dedicated, professional staff is pleased to serve you, and we encourage you to contact us at (502) 573-0282 if we can help you in any way.