Pestides: Safe and Legal Disposal of Pesticides from the Home
If you are trying to find out how to safely and legally store and dispose of pesticides, this guidance is for you; particularly; this is for household consumers, farmers, manufacuring/ importing registrants and international interests.
In the U.S., the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) governs the sale, distribution and use of pesticides in the U.S. Pesticides are regulated under FIFRA until they are disposed, after which they are regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which ensures responsible management of hazardous and nonhazardous waste. Some, but not all, pesticides are regulated as hazardous waste when disposed. The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the transport of hazardous materials. Some, but not all, pesticides are regulated as DOT hazardous materials while in commerce.
Storage - Tips on storing pesticides
Improper pesticide storage and disposal can be hazardous to human health and the environment. Follow these safety recommendations:
- Don't stockpile. Reduce storage needs by buying only the amount of pesticide that you will need in the near future or during the current season when the pest is active.
- Follow all storage instructions on the pesticide label.
- Store pesticides high enough so that they are out of reach of children and pets. If possible, keep all pesticides in a locked cabinet in a well-ventilated utility area or garden shed.
- Never store pesticides in cabinets with or near food, animal feed, or medical supplies.
- Store flammable liquids outside your living area and far away from an ignition source such as a furnace, a car, an outdoor grill, or a power lawn power.
- Always store pesticides in their original containers, which includes the label listing ingredients, directions for use, and first aid steps in case of accidental poisoning.
- Never transfer pesticides to soft drink bottles or other containers. Children or others may mistake them for something to eat or drink.
- Use child-resistant packaging correctly - close the container tightly after using the product. Child resistant does not mean child proof, so you still must be extra careful to store properly - out of children's reach - those products that are sold in child-resistant packaging.
- Do not store pesticides in places where flooding is possible or in places where they might spill or leak into wells, drains, ground water, or surface water.
- If you can't identify the contents of the container, or if you can't tell how old the contents are, follow the advice on safe disposal.
For More Information
Disposal - Guidance for disposing of pesticides safely
- The best way to dispose of small amounts of excess pesticides is to use them - apply them - according to the directions on the label. If you cannot use them, ask your neighbors whether they have a similar pest control problem and can use them.
- If all the remaining pesticide cannot be properly used, check with your local solid waste management authority, environmental agency, or health department to find out whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program or a similar program for getting rid of unwanted, leftover pesticides. These authorities can also inform you of any local requirements for pesticide waste disposal.
To identify your local solid waste agency, look in the government section of your phone book under categories such as solid waste, public works, or garbage, trash, or refuse collection or you can call 1-800-CLEANUP.
- State and local laws regarding pesticide disposal may be stricter than the Federal requirements on the label. Be sure to check with your state or local agencies before disposing of your pesticide containers.
- If the container is partly filled, contact your local solid waste agency.
- If the container is empty, do not reuse it. Place it in the trash, unless the label specifies a different procedure.
- Do not pour leftover pesticides down the sink, into the toilet, or down a sewer or street drain. Pesticides may interfere with the operation of wastewater treatment systems or pollute waterways. Many municipal systems are not equipped to remove all pesticide residues. If pesticides reach waterways, they may harm fish, plants, and other living things.
- EPA's guidance to pesticide registrants about instructions for disposal of household-use pesticides provides more information on this issue.
- Clean Sweep Report - Since many state household hazardous waste programs prohibit farmers from participating, most states have developed programs specifically for farmers, often referred to as "Clean Sweep" programs. This report is an effort to compile state data into a single document.
- Universal Waste (UW) Regulations - Easing requirements for certain hazardous wastes, including pesticides, for those who generate, handle, collect, transport, recycle or dispose of them. The UW regulations facilitate state Clean Sweep programs.
- Pesticide Storage and Handling Practices on the Farm - Provides a general overview of pesticide handling and storage, a risk assessment section, and recommendations for correcting problems related to pesticide storage. Also available en español.
- Other Pesticide Storage Resources - This list of state, industry and association resources was compiled by EPA to provide farmers and state and local regulators with as much information as possible, most of which is available on line. Inclusion on the list does not imply EPA endorsement of either the Web sites or the guidance material.
Manufacturers and Importing (International) Registrants
- Container and Containment Rule - An introductory page with the regulatory history, and links to the proposed rule (1994), the supplemental notice (1999) and ultimately the final rule (2002 - 2003)
The following Pesticide Registration (PR) Notices provide storage and disposal labeling guidance:
- PR Notice 2001-6 - Disposal Instructions on Non-Antimicrobial Residential/Household Use Pesticide Product Labels (85 KB, PDF) Note: Supersedes parts of PR Notice 83-3 and 84-1.
- PR Notice 98-10 - Notifications, Non-Notifications and Minor Formulation Amendments (PDF)
- PR Notice 94-2 - Recycling Empty Aerosol Pesticide Containers
- PR Notice 84-1 - Clarification of Label Improvement Program for Farmworker Safety and Pesticide Storage and Disposal Instructions
- PR Notice 83-3 - Label Improvement Program - Storage and Disposal Statements
This page was updated on 30-Mar-2016