EU proposals to tighten incinerator regulations (News, Mar 24) could affect the practice of burning pesticide packaging on farms.
Unless spray pack disposal is done professionally this safe and efficient way of disposing of empty, rinsed, clean pesticide packs may be lost, says Ross Dyer of the British Agrochemical Association.
Incinerating thoroughly rinsed and drained pesticide packs at up to 900C gives rapid combustion, little smoke, fumes similar to those from burning pine logs and minimal contaminant-free ash.
The BAA incinerator design developed in co-operation with Silsoe Research Institute lets farmers do this easily.
A 210-litre (45gal) oil drum with the bottom intact needs 11 flame-cut 50mm holes equally spaced at 150mm above the base and eight 60mm holes at 440mm. A 530mm diameter circle of 3mm gauge/30mm hole weldmesh is then supported with a four leg frame of bent steel 190mm high placed in the drum. The configuration is critical to get the right temperature.
The incinerator should be sited at least 15m from a roadway and away from livestock, hedgerows, houses, farm buildings, watercourses and other vulnerable areas, including fertilisers and the packs to be disposed of. Always keep a bucket of water or bowser at hand.
Efficient burning relies on getting a hot fire established and feeding it regularly. Failure to do so may lead to black smoke and the risk of prosecution.
Open a cardboard carton and unscrew the pack tops. Light a firelighter or diesel soaked rag placed in the middle of the case and within five minutes a raging hot fire can be obtained.
Add cases of packs with caps removed when at least 90% of the box will go into the incinerator. Powder formulation packs can often be rinsed with the induction bowl rinser. When drained, put them in a cardboard box or 50kg seed bag ready for placing in the incinerator.
Fifteen cases of 5-litre packs can usually be disposed of in 30 minutes. Large quantities are best dealt with by making more incinerators and setting them up at least 5m apart, BAA advises.