How-to's for Prepping Pesticide Containers for Recycling

How-to's for Prepping Pesticide Containers for Recycling April 18, 2018

Also see:

Why and Where to Recycle your Ag Pesticide Containers

Lucas Burch wearing safety glasses while triple rising an ag pesticide container
Figure 1. Safety glasses and gloves are part of the personal protective equipment that should be worn when triple-rinsing pesticide containers.

Nebraska’s pesticide container recycling program accepts 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic agricultural pesticide or crop oil containers and, in some locations, 15-, 30-, and 55-gallon drums. Containers are thoroughly inspected before being accepted.

To prepare your agricultural pesticide containers:

  • Pressure- or triple-rinse and drain the containers.
    1. Wear the same PPE (personal protective equipment) while rinsing containers as the label requires for handling and mixing. This may include a heavy-duty apron and goggles, in addition to the standard long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, and liquid-resistant gloves and shoes. Most pesticide poisoning occurs when the product is absorbed by the skin and enters the bloodstream.
    2. Remove container cap and empty all pesticide into the spray tank. Allow container to drain for 30 seconds, then rinse immediately, before product becomes sticky and hard to remove.
    3. Fill container 10-20% full with water or rinse solution; replace cap.
    4. Swirl liquid within container to rinse all inside surfaces. Remove cap and pour rinsate into the spray tank, again allowing container to drain for 30 seconds.
    5. Repeat previous steps two more times for a total of three times.
    6. Puncture container so it cannot be reused.
  • Remove and throw away any labels, booklets and slipcover plastic labels on the containers. Glued paper labels may be left on.
  • Rinse off container caps before disposing.
  • Return rinsate to the spray tank immediately so it can be sprayed on a labeled site. Never dispose of it on the ground, in water, or in any other nonlabeled area.

Properly rinsing pesticide containers saves money, protects you and the environment, and meets federal and state regulations for pesticide use.

Never store unused pesticide in any container other than the one it came in.

Rinsing Saves Money

It’s easy to leave 6 or more ounces of pesticide in a 2.5-gallon container. That’s 2% of the contents. Not rinsing means you basically throw away product then or later when product left in the container gets sticky and is difficult to remove.

More Information

For easy-to-follow instructions on pressure-rinsing containers and triple-rinsing drums, see the Nebraska Extension NebGuide, Rinsing Pesticide Containers (G1736).