Clean Sweep

Pesticide Container Management

Plastic Pesticide Containers

Plastic pesticide containers might be recyclable by your local recycling program. But, each municipality decides for itself whether they want to do so. There are certain State and federal pesticide, waste and safety waste requirements that apply to them and to you if you have these containers.

First: the pesticide “label is the law.” Whether a farmer or a homeowner, everyone must follow the instructions on the pesticide container label. That goes for disposal. The label discusses disposal, such as cleaning the container before offering it for recycling. Usually this means removing residues (preferably by using them up according to label directions), then rinsing the container three times with water. Whether or not your community recycles pesticide containers, you must still do what the container label says. An exception to the label is when the label says to burn the container. Wisconsin laws prohibit burning of pesticide containers (such as in a burn barrel).

Next, find out what your municipality will accept. Some municipalities will only take rinsed containers and some take nothing. Some will not take pesticide containers from farms but will take them from other residences.

Pesticide containers can be hazardous when handled by recycling staff, especially if staff does not know what has been in a container that has not been properly cleaned out. It is important to their safety for you to find out what your community is set up to accept before sending containers to them. This will also assure that pesticide containers are made into certain plastic products but not others.