Pesticide Disposal Options

Photo credit: Washington Dept. of Ag.

If you have excess pesticide or unwanted pesticide products, the disposal option will depend on the source/type of excess or unwanted product. Many states sponsor collection programs for unwanted pesticides. Eligibility rules vary from state to state. Collection programs are usually free, but not all materials are accepted.

  1. For pesticides in their original, unopened containers: Dealers and manufacturers will sometimes accept the return of unopened containers of recently purchased pesticides. Contact the manufacturer listed on the product label. If a return cannot be arranged, the pesticide may be donated to someone who is qualified to use it properly. Before donating any pesticide, make sure that you are in compliance with these limitations: the pesticide is not designated RESTRICTED USE on the label; the product is still registered for use in your state; and, the donated pesticide must be in its original, fully-labeled container. If the pesticide registration was recently canceled or suspended, the manufacturer may have set up a recall program to collect the pesticide for disposal. In general, these canceled products may be used at the user level until the stock is exhausted (see How to Deal with Label Changes).
  2. Excess mixture is diluted pesticide that is leftover in your spray tank after a pesticide application. Whenever possible, excess spray mixture should be applied to a crop or site permitted by the label. Do not exceed the labeled application rate, and follow all directions. Excess mixtures usually cannot be stored.
  3. If the excess pesticide is rinsate from cleaning pesticide application equipment, it should be disposed of by applying it at the application site or reused as diluent for the next pesticide application, as long as the site to which the rinse water is applied is a labeled site. Rinsate containing multiple pesticides is subject to the labeling requirements for each pesticide. For rinsate created from rinsing empty pesticide containers see the section entitled Handling Pesticide Containers. If rinsate is stored, make sure it is separated and labeled for the target crop or labeled site and pest. Do not allow it to accumulate season to season.
  4. Spill clean-up material used to collect and clean up spills and leaks of pesticides must be properly managed to prevent environmental contamination. If permitted by the label and your state pesticide regulatory agency, materials used for spill clean-up (cat litter, sand, lime, etc.), and soil contaminated in a spill, can be collected and placed in a plastic or metal bucket, and then be applied to a site permitted by the label. Do not exceed the labeled application rate, and follow all directions. Do not use this method to dispose of soil that has been contaminated over a long period by pesticide discharges. If decontamination solutions, cleaners, detergents, ammonia, chlorine bleaches, etc. are used to remove residues, they may need to be diluted before application to prevent soil and plant injury.
  5. Pesticide-contaminated clothing: If your work clothes or PPE are too contaminated to wash and reuse, bundle them in a plastic bag, label the bag, and take the bag to a household hazardous waste collection site in your county or municipality. Check with your state household and hazardous waste contact to determine if this is acceptable.

Compiled by Wayne Buhler, PhD.