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Competency Area 8: Protecting Humans from Pesticide Exposure

PO 57. Recognize proper ways to dispose of pesticides and containers.

If you have pesticides that you cannot use or do not want, you must take steps to safely and legally dispose of them. Pesticides, which are still factory-sealed, may be returned to the manufacturer. Check with the company and see if they will take your surplus back. You may be able to apply the excess pesticide mixture to another site where a pest problem exists and that can be treated with the same pesticide. If possible use the rinse-water from your spray tank in a future spray mix of the same pesticide. Be careful with herbicide contaminated rinse-water on sensitive plants. Caution must also be exercised with reusing rinse-water in mixtures of other pesticides. It is not legal and may cause illegal food or feed crop residues. Never dispose of pesticide contaminated rinsewater in a manner that will contaminate public or private water sources or sewage treatment facilities.

Farmers who need to dispose of a surplus spray mixture or contaminated rinsewater should do so on their own property, only if it is not prohibited on the label and only in labeled sites. If the manufacturer won't take back the concentrates and/or they cannot be used, safe and legal ways to dispose of the surplus must be found. Other certified applicators might be able to use the pesticide leftovers to control a similar pest problem. If containers begin to leak or are damaged, they should be packed in another container that is appropriately labeled. Store your extra pesticides in a locked storage area while you are waiting to dispose of them. They must be kept in their original containers with the label intact.

Empty Pesticide Containers
Empty pesticide containers are not really "empty." They still contain small amounts of pesticide even after they have been rinsed out properly. Never toss them into streams, ponds, fields, or vacant buildings. Be able to account for every pesticide container you used for the job. Never give them to children to play with or allow uninformed persons to have them for any use. Dispose of all your pesticide containers carefully and properly.