Do not reuse an empty pesticide container for any purpose unless:
It is specifically designed to be returned and refilled and you are doing so in line with the label instructions; or
You are filling it with an identical pesticide product transferred from a damaged container.
The product label will state whether you should rinse the container after emptying it.
Before disposing of a non-returnable container, make sure it is completely empty.
If you can, containers for products which are concentrates and are applied as a solution should be thoroughly rinsed before being disposed of.
Containers for ready-to-use formulations or products not applied as a solution are normally not rinsed after emptying.
Containers for hydrogen cyanide gassing powders or aluminum, magnesium or zinc phosphides must never be rinsed or cleaned.
Before disposing of rigid, non-returnable containers, you should always thoroughly rinse them in line with the label instructions.
If there are no instructions, you should:
Use purpose-made container-rinsing equipment in line with the manufacturer’s instructions (for example, pressure rinsing devices forming part of many sprayer induction bowls; the pressure-rinse procedure punctures the container).; or
Triple-rinse the container by emptying the pesticide concentrate into your spray tank and draining the container in a vertical position for 30 seconds. Refill the container about 1/4-1/5 full with water and rinse thoroughly.
Add this rinse water to your tank, unless the product is to be applied without dilution. Be sure to let the pesticide container drain for a few seconds.
Repeat rinsing and draining two more times. After triple-rinsing, punch holes in the containers to prevent re-use. Properly rinsed containers may then be buried in a sanitary landfill, if the operator and local regulations allow.
You may also be able to rinse some types of flexible packaging designed for solid pesticides which are applied as a solution, depending on the material and designs of these packs.
You should always rinse containers immediately after emptying them, once you have allowed the product to drain fully into the equipment that is applying it.
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You should also rinse contaminated closures (caps and seals) and any contamination on the outside of containers. All rinsing’s should be added to the spray solution.
If, for any reason, you have container rinsings which you cannot add to the application equipment (for example, if you are not applying the pesticide as a spray solution or dipping solution), you should collect the contaminated rinsings in a suitable, labeled container, and store it in a safe place.
You should then dispose of the rinsings in line with the guidance for disposal of dilute pesticide waste.
Containers which are not suitable for rinsing (for example, paper sacks and cardboard cartons) and those containing products which are either ready-to-use or not applied as a solution, are normally emptied completely but not rinsed.
These will have the phrase ‘Empty container completely and dispose of safely’ on the label. You should handle and store these empty containers as if they still contained the pesticide, and you should dispose of them through a licensed waste-disposal contractor.
You must not rinse or clean empty containers which hydrogen cyanide gassing powders or aluminum, magnesium or zinc phosphides have been supplied in or kept in because of the dangerous gases they give off when they come into contact with moisture.
You should handle and store these empty containers as if they still contained the pesticide and you should dispose of them through a licensed waste-disposal contractor.
Firmly replace caps on containers immediately after rinsing and draining them into the equipment used for applying pesticide. Put the rinsed foil seal inside the container.
Store the rinsed and drained containers upright in a secure, weatherproof area away from stored pesticides (either in a separate store or a separate part of your chemical store), until you can dispose of them.
You can dispose of rinsed pesticide containers in the following ways:
Pass them on to a licensed waste-disposal contractor;
Take them to licensed waste-disposal or waste-recovery site, after checking whether the site will accept rinsed containers;
Burn them only in an incinerator licensed by your local authority or the Environment Agency.
Containers that have been thoroughly rinsed and drained will generally be accepted at licensed waste-disposal sites as long as the conditions of the site operator’s licence allow this. The local Environment Agency can give you details of these sites.
Do not use empty pesticide containers or contaminated pallets for transporting food or animal feed.
Methods of Disposal of Other Pesticide Waste Materials
You should arrange to dispose of contaminated packaging, equipment, unwanted protective clothing and waste from dealing with spills and leaks through a licensed waste-disposal contractor. Some of this waste may need to be dealt with as ‘hazardous waste’.
You should dispose of used vertebrate control agents, other pesticide baits and dead bodies in line with guidance on the product label. If no advice is given on the label, arrange to dispose of this waste through a licensed waste-disposal contractor, making sure that you follow the correct procedure.
You should dispose of used compost, soil and so on which have been treated with pesticides in line with the guidance on the product label. If no advice is given on the label, get guidance from your local Environment Agency office.
You should arrange to dispose of other materials, such as treated seed, other treated plant material and used crop covers which are contaminated with pesticides through a licensed waste-disposal contractor.
In conclusion, the indiscriminate disposal of pesticide waste and pesticide containers constitutes an environmental hazard and can threaten human health and safety. Pesticide wastes and containers that are improperly disposed can result in a number of problems.
It can cause contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water. However, these problems can be avoided by using appropriate pesticide waste management techniques.