Tips for proper pesticide container disposal
A farmer, a local lawn and garden supply store, and a department store chain were fined recently for pesticide disposal violations. In each of these cases, the pesticide product itself was disposed of improperly.
“Regulations on proper pesticide disposal govern the product and much more,” explains Fred Fishel, Ph.D., Professor of Agronomy and Director, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Pesticide Information Office. “They address excess or damaged product, unused spray mixture, rinsate from containers and application equipment, empty containers, leftover treated seed, contaminated clothing and personal protective equipment, material from cleanup of spills and leaks, and other pesticide residues. If anything contains or is contaminated with a pesticide, appropriate disposal is a must.”
It is important to note that state and local laws regarding pesticide disposal may be stricter and more detailed than federal requirements on the pesticide label. Also, many disposal facilities can accept only certain types of waste.
Here are a few important tips about pesticide disposal:
Excess Product. Avoid having to dispose of excess product by purchasing only the amount needed. Excess pesticides can be given to another qualified user (if the product registration has not expired), taken to a qualified disposal site or collection location, or disposed of through a waste transporter. Special disposal programs may exist for products missing identifying labels.
Unused Spray or Dip Mixture. Whenever possible, eliminate or minimize excess spray or dip mixture by practicing careful measurement, calibration and application. Apply excess mixture to another labeled site or follow all disposal regulations.
Rinsate. Rinse the pesticide container or spray equipment over an impermeable surface and in a way that allows recovery of the rinsate. If the rinsate contains no debris, it can be used the same day as part (up to 5%) of the water (or other liquid) portion of the next spray mixture of that chemical. Rinsate can also be applied to the original site, provided registered rates are not exceeded and the application is consistent with label directions. If practical, take clean water to the treatment site to rinse equipment immediately after the application.
Never pour excess product, unused spray/dip mixture or rinsate onto a roadway or into a sink, toilet, sewer, street drain, ditch or water body. Do not mix pesticides or load or rinse equipment near a wellhead. Pesticides may interfere with the operation of wastewater treatment systems, pollute waterways or harm non-target organisms. Many municipal systems are not equipped to remove all pesticide residues.