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Pesticide Disposal

September 30, 1998

Disposal of pesticide concentrate that is no longer needed or legal to use continues to be a problem. The first step is to store the product in a safe place (away from children, potential flooding sites, etc.) for proper disposal or collection in the future. Be sure the container is labeled and in good condition.

One way to get rid of excess pesticide concentrate is to contact the pesticide manufacturer and see if they will take it back. Another method is to contact other possible users of the pesticide to see if they have a need for it. For legal reasons, never sell a pesticide unless you are a licensed dealer. Both of these suggestions are based on the assumption that the pesticide is in the original, properly labeled container.

Pesticides with outdated labels, pesticides for which the labeled uses have changed, or pesticides that have been taken off the market can usually still be used until supplies are exhausted. This means that for most pesticides with outdated labels, you can legally use up the pesticide according to the label on the container. There are exceptions to the rule: For some pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows old label uses for only a short time after product cancellation or label change. In rare cases, the agency may issue a "stop use" on a product at the time of its cancellation. (For instance, it is no longer legal to use old supplies of 2,4,5-T or chlordane in the United States.) Contact the pesticide manufacturer to find out whether you can still use a particular product. You can also contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture at (217) 785-2427, or the U.S. EPA to obtain the same information.

Collection programs are another way to dispose of unwanted pesticides. These programs have been available somewhat sporadically over the last several years. Such programs involve a sponsoring state agency, a funding source, and frequently an industry or other group that takes responsibility for assisting the program's development. The University of Illinois Extension publicizes these collection programs when they occur.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has sponsored the collection of agricultural pesticides and associated hazardous waste. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency sponsored a series of collection sites for household pesticides and other wastes in spring 1998. The Illinois Department of Public Health sponsored a collection of commercial structural pest control pesticides in mid-1998.

With commercial agricultural or structural pesticide collection programs, there might be a requirement that persons wanting to dispose of pesticides declare which pesticides and how much of each they will be bringing to the collection site. This allows the sponsoring agency to work with the commercial waste collector to get the maximum amount of pesticide disposal for the money. In this process, some pesticides or pesticide formulations may be refused.

The most expensive option is a waste hauler or collector. Disposing of even few small containers could cost about $1,000 in disposal and transport fees. Your local waste hauler may be able to dispose of certain pesticides; if not, he or she should be able to refer you to a company that can deal with the waste. These may include

  • PDC Laboratories, Peoria; (309) 688-0760
  • Waste Management and Industrial Services, near East St. Louis; (618) 271-2804
  • Heritage Environmental Services, Indiana; (317) 243-0811

If you contact a commercial waste collector, they will ask you to submit an inventory of chemicals. They will then provide you with a price quote and set up a collection date and time.

Author: Bruce Paulsrud Phil Nixon


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