Safe Disposal of Pesticides

Read the pesticide label for specific disposal instructions.
Safe Disposal of Pesticides - Articles


S.K. McDonald,

  • Avoid disposal problems by purchasing only the amount of material needed for one growing season. Do not stockpile.
  • Use proper personal protective clothing and equipment when you dispose of pesticide wastes and containers.
  • Mix only the amount of pesticide required for a particular application. If you mix too much, use the surplus by applying the material at the recommended rate to one of the crops listed on the label.
  • Do not dump pesticides or pesticide rinsates on the ground or pour them down sinks, toilets, or other drains, including storm sewers.
  • Pressure rinse or triple rinse empty pesticide containers with water and pour the rinse water into the spray tank. Drain the containers for 30 seconds each time.
  • After rinsing metal, plastic, or glass containers, puncture, break, crush, or in some way render unusable. Recycle plastic containers through the Plastic Pesticide Container Recycling Program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). Contact your regional PDA office for further information. Disposal in a sanitary landfill is desirable if conducted in accordance with local regulations.
  • If stated on the label and permitted by local ordinances, combustible containers can be burned. However, do not burn pesticide containers near residential areas or where the smoke can contact humans. Avoid exposure to the smoke; it may contain toxic vapors. Bury the ashes, since they also may be toxic.
  • Send large metal drums to a reconditioning company.
  • Before disposing of pesticide concentrates, check with PDA's CHEMSWEEP Program, which provides disposal options for unwanted and outdated pesticide concentrates free of charge.
  • Do not reuse empty pesticide containers for any purpose.
  • Clean up thoroughly after handling and disposing of pesticides.