This fact sheet provides general information to help pesticide applicators determine whether their leftover, unwanted pesticide is solid waste or hazardous waste and how to properly dispose of each type. Disposal is an important part of responsible pesticide use, as improperly disposed pesticide wastes can create serious hazards for human health and the environment. Businesses should refer to this fact sheet as general guidance only and should review appropriate state and federal laws and regulations before making the ultimate decision of how to manage waste pesticides.
The federal hazardous waste regulations are in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Part 260 through Part 280 (40 CFR 260-280). The Missouri Hazardous Waste Law is in the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo), Sections 260.350-260.575. The hazardous waste rules are in the Code of State Regulations, Title 10, Division 25 (10 CSR 25).
What is a pesticide waste?
Pesticide waste is any material that contains any concentration of pesticide declared a waste or can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes such things as: rinse material from containers and spray equipment, leftover spray solutions, excess pesticides, empty containers and banned, canceled or suspended pesticides.
Are all pesticide wastes considered hazardous wastes?
No, under federal regulations, commercial chemical products such as pesticides become "solid wastes" and thus, potentially hazardous wastes, at the point when the pesticide's holder (i.e., end-user, dealer, distributor or registrant) decides to discard them. If a pesticide product or the active ingredient of the product is listed in 40 CFR 261.31 or 261.33 (Table 1) or exhibits a hazardous waste characteristic identified in 40 CFR 261.21 through 261.24, it then becomes a hazardous waste at the point when its holder decides to discard it. Parts 261.21 through 261.24 identify the following criteria: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity characteristic. Most hazardous waste pesticides fall into the toxicity criteria due to the toxic organic properties.
An environmental consultant or hazardous waste disposal contractor can help make a hazardous waste determination for you to dispose of the waste pesticide properly. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources maintains a Licensed Hazardous and Infectious Waste Transporter List. The department also provides a list of Missouri Commercial Hazardous Waste Facilities - PUB0968 with permits to accept hazardous waste. It is always recommended to call several consultants/contractors when obtaining bids for disposal.
More ways to help determine if a pesticide is a hazardous waste include:
- Checking the Material Safety Data Sheet for the pesticide
- Talking to the product supplier or manufacturer.
- Reading the product labels
How to dispose of pesticide classified as hazardous waste?
Businesses generating hazardous waste must follow federal and state laws and regulations, depending on the type and amount of hazardous waste generated. Publications summarizing hazardous waste regulations include Handbook for Small-Quantity Generators - PUB2174 and EPA’s guidance document, Typical Wastes Generated By Industry Sectors.
Determining how much hazardous waste pesticide is generated in any one month and accumulated at any one time is necessary information for determining generator requirements. Hazardous waste generator requirements is available at 10 CSR 25-5.262 and a summary of the regulations is available in a fact sheet titled Hazardous Waste Generator Status Guidance - PUB2224.
To avoid having to dispose of unused pesticide products, try to give the unneeded product away to someone who can use the product for its intended purpose, provided the pesticide is in its original, fully labeled container and still legal to use. If you cannot find someone who can use the pesticide and you no longer have a use for the product, below are options for disposing of an unwanted hazardous waste pesticide.
- Registering as a large quantity generator (LQG) or small quantity generator (SQG) if 100 kg (220 pounds) or more of non-acute hazardous waste and 1 kg (2.2 pounds) or more of acute (P-listed) hazardous waste is generated in one month or accumulated at any one time. Table 1 below lists some acute and non-acute hazardous waste pesticides with their specific hazardous waste identification under the “RCRA #” column. Hazardous Waste Generator Registration, Reporting and Waste Fees - PUB2254 summarizes registration requirements.
- If you have less than the above mentioned weight of hazardous waste pesticide you may be able to dispose of it as a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG). A fact sheet titled Managing Conditionally Exempt Small Quantities of Hazardous Waste - PUB0128. CESQGs may transport their own hazardous waste within Missouri. Under this standard a manifest or a licensed hazardous waste transporter is not required if you do not exceed the regulated amounts of waste. However, you will need to follow applicable U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for the waste being shipped.
- Disposing of the hazardous waste pesticide under the universal waste rule in Missouri is an option that can reduce the regulatory burden on businesses allowing less stringent disposal requirements versus disposal under the more stringent hazardous waste regulations. The Universal Waste Rule in Missouri - PUB2058 summarizes the requirements of the rule.
Pesticide Container Disposal
In addition to label requirements, some pesticide containers must meet the requirements set forth in 40 CFR 261.7, Residues of Hazardous Wastes in Empty Containers, to be considered empty. Empty containers that once stored pesticide classified as acute hazardous waste versus containers that stored pesticide classified as non-acute hazardous waste may require different treatment methods for declaring the container empty. After the container is made empty according to label and 40 CFR 261.7 standards, the container should be punctured. Empty containers may be sent for recycling or placed in the trash and sent to a permitted solid waste landfill.
Ag Container Recycling Council is a non-profit organization that receives money from pesticide manufacturers to provide free pesticide container recycling programs throughout the United States. The Pesticide Container Management - PUB2727 includes more detail on managing empty pesticide containers.
Disposal of Pesticides Not Classified As Hazardous Waste
If you are absolutely certain the pesticide is not classified as a hazardous waste the pesticide may be solidified and placed into the sanitary landfill if the landfill chooses to accept it. However, because all pesticides are designed to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate pests, disposal should be done in a professional manner preferably following the hazardous waste or universal waste laws and regulations.
A listing of the pesticides from 40 CFR 261.31 through 40 CFR 261.33 is provided below in Table 1. Please note the table may not include all hazardous waste pesticides. Table 1 includes various Hazardous Waste Codes (RCRA #) that have special meanings and are defined as follows:
F-List hazardous wastes from nonspecific sources (40 CFR 261.31)
P-List acutely toxic hazardous wastes from specific sources (40 CFR 261.33(e))
U-List toxic hazardous wastes and other commercial chemical products (40 CFR 261.33(f))
Toxicity characteristic hazardous wastes that meet or exceed the regulatory level listed in the table (as shown by laboratory analysis)
Table 1. Pesticides in parts 261.31 and 261.33
|Toxicity Characteristic #
|Regulatory Level (mg/L)
|2,4-D, Salts, Esters and Acids
|2,4,5-T, Salts, Esters and Acids
|Phenylmercuric Acetate (PMA)
|Silvex, Salts, Acids and Esters
|Strychnine And Salts
|Zinc Phosphide (<10%)
Pesticide Container Management - PUB2727
Ag Container Recycling Council
EPA Guidance document, Typical Wastes Generated by Industry Sectors
Handbook for Small-Quantity Generators - PUB2174
Hazardous Waste Generator Registration, Reporting and Waste Fees - PUB2254
Hazardous Waste Generator Status Guidance - PUB 2224
Licensed Hazardous and Infectious Waste Transporter List
Make the Decision to Discard a Pesticide Decision Tree
Managing Conditionally Exempt Small Quantities of Hazardous Waste - PUB0128
Missouri Commercial Hazardous Waste Facilities List - PUB0968
The Universal Waste Rule in Missouri - PUB2058
Pesticide Collection Program
Code of Federal Regulations
Code of State Regulations for Department of Natural Resources
Missouri Revised Statutes
Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.