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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Best Management Practices > Managing Pesticides, Waste Pesticide & Empty Pesticide Containers

Managing Pesticides, Waste Pesticides & Empty Pesticide Containers

Pesticides are one of many tools available to us for effective protection of crops from weeds, insects and diseases. Pesticides require special care and handling. The following practices outline safe, responsible and effective procedures for pesticide use and handling that can help protect our environment, our water supplies - and ourselves.

Pesticide users must follow all legal requirements such as:

  • Follow label use, storage and disposal instructions.
  • Store pesticides only in the original labeled container, separated from other products (such as food, feed and seed), and in a locked building with appropriate warning signs.
  • Pressure rinse or triple rinse containers immediately after emptying. Delay in rinsing pesticide containers may result in a residue that, upon drying, is highly resistant to rinsing. Use rinsate as dilution make-up water and apply evenly over labeled crops or sites.
  • Dispose of empty paper bags, plastic bags and other types of containers at sanitary landfills. Contact waste hauler or landfill operator for information.
  • Do not burn any pesticide container in an open fire, such as in the field, in trash barrels or on burn piles. This is illegal in Minnesota.
  • Do not reuse pesticide containers unless they are dedicated for reuse or unless they have been cleaned according to the pesticide manufacturer’s protocol and are intended to be refilled with pesticides.

In addition to legal requirements, consider the following voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs) when managing pesticides.

  • Purchase only the amount of pesticide needed for the job.
  • Recycle triple-rinsed or pressure-rinsed rigid plastic pesticide containers through a local empty pesticide container recycling program. Contact your local pesticide retailer for recycling opportunities.
  • Dispose of unusable or unwanted pesticides properly. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Clean Sweep Waste Pesticide Collection Program provides opportunities for the disposal of unusable and unwanted pesticides. For more information, visit the Clean Sweep Program web page or call 651-201-6370 to see if your county is participating.

For more information on container and waste pesticide management, see the University of Minnesota Extension's Private Pesticide Applicator's Training Manual, 2012. Refer to Chapter 7: Safe Handling: The Application Process.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture • University of Minnesota Extension • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Working cooperatively to balance pest management and water quality protection. October 2008

MDA Contact

Stan Kaminski
Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division