Handling of empty pesticide containers must be done in accordance with label directions as well as with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, a pesticide container is not empty until it has been properly rinsed. However, pesticide containers that have been properly rinsed can be handled and disposed of as non-hazardous solid waste. Federal law (FIFRA) and state law requires pesticide applicators to rinse all empty pesticide containers before taking other container disposal steps. For more information on proper pesticide container disposal procedures in Maryland, see Pesticide Information Leaflet No. 13: Disposal of Pesticide Containers. 2012. University of Maryland.
After following proper procedures (such as pressure rinsing, triple rinsing, puncturing, etc.), pesticide containers be either recycled through an approved program or disposed of by depositing them in a licensed sanitary landfill. The MDA offers a pesticide container recycling program (see MDA’s 2017 program brochure). Ways to reduce the amount of waste requiring handling include identifying and implementing waste-reduction practices and purchasing in bulk packaging when possible.
Best Management Practices
- Rinse pesticide containers immediately in order to remove the most residue.
- Rinse containers during the mixing and loading process and add rinsate water to the finished spray mix.
- Rinse emptied pesticide containers by either triple rinsing or pressure rinsing.
- Puncture empty and rinsed pesticide containers and dispose of according to the label.