Pesticide Storage and Disposal

Photo credit: CSU.eduPesticide Storage

Improper pesticide storage and disposal can be hazardous to human health and the environment. Follow these safety recommendations provided by the EPA:

  • Do not stockpile. Reduce storage needs by buying only the amount of pesticide that you will need in the near future or during the current season when the pest is active.
  • Follow all storage instructions on the pesticide label. Store pesticides high enough so that they are out of reach of children and pets. If possible, keep all pesticides in a locked cabinet in a well-ventilated utility area or garden shed.
  • Never store pesticides in cabinets with or near food, animal feed, or medical supplies. Store flammable liquids outside your living area and far away from an ignition source such as a furnace, a car, an outdoor grill, or a power lawn mower.
  • Always store pesticides in their original containers, which includes the label listing ingredients, directions for use, and first aid steps in case of accidental poisoning.
  • Never transfer pesticides to soft drink bottles or other containers. Children or others may mistake them for something to eat or drink.
  • Use child-resistant packaging correctly - close the container tightly after using the product. Child resistant does not mean child proof, so you still must be extra careful to store properly - out of children's reach - those products that are sold in child-resistant packaging.
  • Do not store pesticides in places where flooding is possible or in places where they might spill or leak into wells, drains, ground water, or surface water.

If you cannot identify the contents of the container, or if you cannot tell how old the contents are, follow refer to the DISPOSAL section below.

Disposal

  • The best way to dispose of small amounts of excess pesticides is to use them - apply them - according to the directions on the label. If you cannot use them, ask your neighbors whether they have a similar pest control problem and give them your remaining stock pile.
  • If all the remaining pesticide cannot be properly used, check with your local solid waste management authority, environmental agency, or health department to find out whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program or a similar program for getting rid of unwanted, leftover pesticides. These authorities can also inform you of any local requirements for pesticide waste disposal.
  • To identify your local solid waste agency, look in the government section of your phone book under categories such as solid waste, public works, or garbage, trash, or refuse collection or you can call 1-800-CLEANUP.
  • Be sure to check with SCDHEC before disposing of your pesticide containers about proper techniques.
  • If the container is partly filled, contact your local solid waste agency.
  • If the container is empty, do not reuse it. Place it in the trash, unless the label specifies a different procedure.

Do not pour leftover pesticides down the sink, into the toilet, or down a sewer or street drain. Pesticides may interfere with the operation of wastewater treatment systems or pollute waterways. Many municipal systems are not equipped to remove all pesticide residues. If pesticides reach waterways, they may harm fish, plants, and other living things.

EPA Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety