Container Recycle Recap

On Monday, May 1, 2023, the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures (AWM) held the first of two plastic recycling events for 2023. This free event gives our local farmers, nurseries, pest control businesses, golf courses, parks, and government agencies the opportunity to recycle empty, non-reusable plastic pesticide containers which would otherwise end up in the landfill. This spring’s event brought 26 participants dropping off 3,600 pounds of material. This was a significant drop in material collected compared to spring events of years past. We can attribute this drop to a very wet winter and late spring season. Upon dropping off material, AWM staff inspects the containers to ensure they are rinsed and clean in accordance with Section 6684 of the California Code of Regulations.

A big thank you to Grow West and their staff for hosting the event. With a two-man crew, Interstate Ag Plastics processes the pesticide containers on site, chipping the plastic into half inch pieces. The material is then hauled to the Central Valley where it is distributed and processed into acceptable end use products. Some of these products include agriculture drainpipe, highway and agricultural fence posts, and industrial pallets for agriculture chemical and seed packaging. Since the creation of the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) in 1992, over 236 million pounds of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic has been recycled.

Spring 2024 Agricultural Pesticide Collection and Disposal Event
The Marin, Napa, and Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Offices would like to thank those that participated in the survey to gauge interest in a regional pesticide collection event for commercial operators. The survey has closed and we received very strong interest in an event. The next step is to secure funding for the event to make it a ‘no cost’ event for all participants. In late May, the Agricultural Commissioner’s Offices will be submitting a Funding Proposal to the Pesticide Regulatory Affairs Committee at the 2023 California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association (CACASA) Annual Spring Conference. CACASA has earmarked specialty funding to sponsor these events.

Once funding has been secured, we will be reaching out to those that participated in the survey and whom have material they wish to dispose. We will be requesting a detailed breakdown of specific products and amounts. This information is needed in advance by the contractor doing the disposal. Please stay tuned for more information on this event that we plan to hold in the spring of 2024.

Scale Reminder and Upcoming Crane Scale Workshop

As the 2023 Sonoma County winegrape harvest quickly approaches, the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures (AWM) would like to remind scale owners and operators about the important role their scales play during harvest. Payment for the purchase or sale of winegrapes between buyer and seller is determined over a scale. The 2021 Crop Report shows that in 2021, local growers harvested over 206,000 tons of winegrapes having a combined value of $540,000,000.

Start this year’s harvest on the right track by making sure your harvest scales are in good operating condition prior to having them inspected and certified by AWM. Take a few minutes to inspect the condition of your scale(s). If your scale exhibits erratic weighing values, will not hold a stable zero balance, or shows physical damage, call a licensed scale repair company to service your scale. Damaged scale components, severed power cords, or malfunctioning batteries used with portable scales may require ordering parts that could delay your ability to use your scale.