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How can I safely dispose of excess pesticides, including herbicides?

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A

Pesticide use requires disposal of either excess pesticides or empty pesticide containers. You can reduce the pesticides or pesticide containers you need to dispose of if you follow these practices:

* Purchase only the amount of the pesticide needed for a single season.
* Calculate the amount of pesticide needed to treat the site. Mix that amount and apply it with properly calibrated equipment. Carefully mix and load so there is no spillage.
* Minimize liquid wastes, including spray material left after an application and the water used to wash and rinse the spray equipment. Use liquids according to application directions.
* Protect pesticides so they remain useful and the labels are legible. Store them in a cool location, out of the sun and in locked cabinets. Keep them in their original containers and out of reach of children or animals. Sunlight, moisture and excessive heat or cold can destroy pesticide effectiveness. Use older products first.

If you have on hand more than you need:

* Read the storage and disposal section of the label for special disposal instructions.
* If label directions allow, apply excess pesticides in a second application.
* If you cannot use all yourself, consider giving the pesticide, in its original container, to another applicator to use according to label directions.
* See if your county and city health departments accept home and garden pesticide products for disposal.
* Safely store pesticides until an acceptable method for disposal is available. This may involve storage for extended times and safe storage is difficult.
* See if there are requirements for the proper cleaning of pesticide containers before disposal. Directions are in the storage and disposal section of the label. Most commonly, cleaning is accomplished by triple rinsing containers with water or shaking out paper or plastic bags. To triple rinse:
* Empty pesticide container into spray tank and allow container to drain for 30 seconds.
* Add rinse water to container so it is onefourth full.
* Rinse container thoroughly, pour rinse water into spray tank and drain for 30 seconds. Do this procedure three times.
* DO NOT pour pesticides down the drain or into water.
* DO NOT pour pesticides on the ground.
* DO NOT burn excess pesticides.
* DO NOT use pesticides for other than their labeled uses.
* DO NOT discard pesticide containers in unapproved areas.
* DO NOT reuse pesticide containers.

Posted on 4 Sep 2000

Howard Deer
Pesticides and Toxicology Specialist

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