Pesticide packaging reverse logistics pioneer program turns 21

22 . OCT . 2021 Releases

The Empty Pesticide Packaging Collection Program turns 21 on Saturday, October 23. The initiative of the tobacco sector in sending trucks and specialized teams to remote rural localities to collect the empty containers of chemical products used in the rural properties, started prior to specific legislation on the subject. This is because, two years before the promulgation of Decree 4.074 – which, in its Article 53 sets forth that users of pesticides and the like have to return their containers – the tobacco sector had already been collecting the empty containers.

Created in 2000 as a pilot project for the correct disposal of empty containers, the program was inaugurated in the district of Rio Pardinho, interior of Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), on October 23. Shortly after, the program conducted by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) and associate companies, in partnership with the Tobacco Growers’ Association of Brazil (Afubra), began to cover new localities and expanded its scope to all the tobacco growing regions in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Once consolidated in the territory of the above-mentioned State, the program was extended to Santa Catarina, as of August 2004.

Currently, 113 thousand tobacco farmers are assisted by the itinerant collection program, which calls at approximately 1.8 thousand collection sites in the rural areas. In all, there are 10 itineraries that comprise 395 municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. In 21 years, the Program has already collected the considerable amount of 17.7 million pieces, and disposed of them correctly. However, the big amount of containers collected so far by the Program cannot be associated to tobacco farming only, because most farmers have adhered to crop diversification, meaning that lots of empty containers are related to crops other than tobacco.

Upon recalling that several research works attest that tobacco is one of the commercial crops that uses the least amount of pesticides (only 1.01 kilogram of active ingredient per hectare), the president of the SindiTabaco, Iro Schünke, explains the objective of the action. “By providing for the correct disposal, the initiative contributes toward the preservation of the environment, whilst protecting the health and safety of the farmers and their families”, the chief executive says. “As we are focused on the sustainability of the entire supply chain, the collection of the empty packaging benefits the sector as a whole”, he adds. 

The coordinator of the Empty Packaging Collection Program, Carlos Sehn, explains that the containers are picked up according to a previously established and detailed chronogram, broadly publicized by all the communication vehicles, as well as by the agricultural extension workers of the companies associated with the SindiTabaco. “The farmers receive individual invitations informing date, time and place of the itinerant collection in their communities”, he says. “Upon delivering their triple rinsed empty containers, they are given receipts, which are of fundamental importance as they have to be presented to the environmental enforcement organs”, he adds.


As the farmers are advised to triple rinse their empty containers, the tobacco sector program leads to a high recycling rate. Once collected, the containers are forwarded to the waste treatment plants of the National Empty Packaging Processing Institute (inPEV), administrator of the Clean Field System. According to the logistics manager at the inpEV, Mario Fujii, everything that is sent to the plants of the Clean Field System, initially goes through a classification stage, and selection is according to the type of the materials, and the rinsed containers are separated from the non-rinsed. “All correctly rinsed plastic containers are pressed at the receiving stations, transformed into bales and sent to the recycling plants”, he clarifies. “They can be transformed into different artifacts, like conduits, ducts, drains, connections and drainage pipes, or into new containers and caps for pesticide containers”, he explains.

Due to the excellence of the inbound delivery programs and stimulus to recycling, Brazil sets an example to the world with regard to the environmentally correct disposal of plastic pesticide containers. The latest available data suggest that Brazil is running ahead of other countries that have similar programs, like France, which recycles 77%; Canada, 73%; and the United States, 33%.  “Of the total amount received by the Clean Field System, 93% is recycled and 7% incinerated”, Fujii explains. “With such positive rates, Brazil is a global benchmark and sets an example to other countries”, he concludes.


– In the State of Paraná, container receiving programs get financial support from the tobacco companies.

– All farmers are advised to return their triple rinsed containers, perforated and their caps removed and delivered along with the containers. This initiative favors the recycling steps.

–  The Program run by the SindiTabaco, associate companies and with support from Afubra, plays a significant role in the results of the Clean Field Program, which, since 2002 (when it started), has already correctly disposed of upwards of 630 thousand tons of empty packaging.

For high resolution photos, click HERE.

(Photo credits: Junio Nunes)

Know more about the Empty Packaging Collection Program, click HERE.

Arthur Ianhez – – (11) 3169-9300 / (11) 97375-2413
Eliana Stülp Kroth – – (51) 3713-1777 / (51) 9708-5539
Thais Thomaz – – (11) 3169-9373