How to Dispose of Pesticides Properly and Safely

Pesticides are chemicals or biological agents used for repelling, preventing and killing pests that can damage plants. Pests can be insects, weeds, birds, mammals, nematodes or microbes. Although pesticides are beneficial for plants, their inherent toxic nature renders them harmful for animals and human beings. If disposed inappropriately, pesticide poisoning can be fatal. Hence, it becomes critically important to dispose them off safely. Pesticides must be disposed when unused pesticide remains in the original container.

It is advisable to dispose the remaining pesticide after use. Usually, after application, the pesticide containers may contain some amount of the substance or trace chemicals left over. Find out if the label on the container has any specifications regarding the disposal methods. Most pesticides have labels on them specifying disposal methods and procedures. If not, you can check with the local waste management authority for the same.

Pesticides in the Original Container

Vefore you decide to dispose the pesticides, check whether any of your friends of neighbors need it. Otherwise, the best way to dispose unused pesticides in containers is to read and follow the disposal instructions mentioned on its label. Do not burn or bury pesticide bags or containers unless it is specifically mentioned.

Also, do not pour excess pesticides in the drain, sink, toilets or on the ground. You always have the option to hand it over to local waste management authority for disposal.

Unused Pesticide Mixtures

Before using the pesticides, try to ascertain the exact amount that will be required. This prevents wastage of unused amount. Still if the pesticides remain unused, dispose them according to the instructions on the container.

Empty Pesticide Containers

Pesticide containers can in the form of plastic bags, drums, bottles or cans. If the pesticide container is a plastic bag, use an appropriate cleaning agent (such as petrol or industrial alcohol) to clean the bag from inside. Drain the mixture in a plastic or glass container and send the plastic bag for recycling. Unless mentioned, do not burn the plastic bag. The same method can be applied for cleaning pesticide bottles, drums, or cans. However, you may have to rinse it three times to completely clean the container. These cleaned containers can then be sent for recycling.

Triple Rinsing Pesticide Containers

Triple rinsing should be done very carefully. For best results and safety, try to rinse the container immediately after use as it may become difficult to rinse out dried pesticide. Follow the steps given below:

  • For your own safety, wear safety gloves and glasses.
  • Drain out any excess pesticide from the container and fill one-fifth of the container with water.
  • Close the lid and shake well for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the rinsed water into another disposable container and repeat the procedure two more times.
  • Outer side of the container should also be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Crush the container after it has been rinsed thoroughly. It even can be sent for recycling.
  • The diluted mixture should be disposed according to instructions given on the label.