Toro Ag Irrigation, based in El Cajon, Calif., has launched a program to recycle Aqua-Traxx, its thin-walled, drip irrigation hose for agricultural growers.
Jim Donworth, regional sales manager, spearheaded the recycling program and said it has been four years in the making.
Aqua-Traxx is used to irrigate a variety of row crops including strawberries, melons, tomatoes and other vegetables. An estimated 1 billion feet of linear low density polyethylene drip irrigation tape is sold annually in the California growing valleys.
Toro Ag has implemented pilot programs for recycling in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Salinas, Calif.
The company is working with a local hauler company that will take large roll-away bins to Oxnard fields at the end of the season, pick up the used Aqua-Traxx, take it back to the recycling center and process it into large cubes. Vernon, Calif.-based recycler Primo Corp. will convert that raw material into reprocessed resin, which can be made into products such as pallets, fence posts and containers.
Toro Ag has installed compactor units at the Santa Maria facility.
In Salinas, the company is working on a mobile unit that it will take to the fields, where it will pick up the Aqua-Traxx and compact it on the spot. Donworth said this mobile unit should be up and running in the next couple months.
Donworth said the escalating cost of having drip tape picked up and taken to landfills has been a growing concern for local growers, he said.
In recognition of the company's coordination of a recycling program for Aqua-Traxx, Ventura County Supervisor John Flynn will present Toro Ag with a Ventura County Waste Watch '99 award. The award, which will be presented at the May 14 kickoff event for the Toro Ag recycling project, ``commends Toro Ag for manufacturer responsibility,'' according to David Goldstein, analyst with the Ventura County Solid Waste Management Department.
Goldstein, who coordinates the Ventura County recycling market development zone, hopes Toro Ag's program will encourage other manufacturers to take responsibility for waste they help create.
``Toro Ag is stepping up to the plate for organizing the infrastructure necessary to recycle their product,'' he said.
If the pilot program works, Toro Ag will look at expanding the program to other geographic areas domestically, such as San Joaquin, Calif.; Texas; and Florida, Donworth said.
In addition to the headquarters facility in El Cajon, Toro Ag has facilities in Oxnard, Santa Maria, Salinas, Ventura and Ladera, Calif.; Sanford, Fla.; Rome and Australia. Toro Ag employs about 300.
Toro Ag is an operating unit of the Toro Co., a global agricultural company based in Bloomington, Minn.