Minimize Pesticide Waste

Posted on

About Jason Deveau (Spray_Guy)

Jason (@spray_guy) is the OMAFRA Application Technology Specialist. BSc (Biology and Psychology '96), MSc (Plant science '98), PhD (Plant cell electrophysiology '03). Jason studies and teaches methods to improve the safe, effective and efficient application of agricultural inputs. Co-administrator of Sprayers101, co-author of the Airblast101 Textbook, slow cyclist, slower runner.

See all posts by Jason Deveau (Spray_Guy).
The "Wheel of Waste".
The “Wheel of Waste”.

Sprayer operators can generate three types of pesticide waste:

  • Surplus spray & rinsate
  • Empty containers
  • Unwanted pesticides

Here is some basic advice on disposal, but always refer to your local environmental authority.

Surplus spray & rinsate

Spray it into the crop. Dilute the surplus to a 1:10 ratio (1 part surplus or rinsate, 9 parts clean water) and spray it out in an un-sprayed or under-dosed portion of the crop. Never exceed the maximum labelled dose for the crop.

Another option is to drain spray washings to a storage tank, which is then sent for disposal. This isn’t the preferred method because it introduces additional handling and therefore raises the possibility of operator exposure. Further, it creates a “witches brew” of unknown products. Still further, it’s very expensive to have it disposed of.

Better to do some spray math to reduce the surplus as much as possible and spray the diluted remainder onto the crops. It will dissipate and break-down the way the agrichemical company that developed it intended.

Safely dispose of unused, unwanted or obsolete pesticide sand their containers.
Safely dispose of unused, unwanted or obsolete pesticide sand their containers.

Empty containers

Use returnable or refillable containers when possible. Recyclable containers should be triple-rinsed, perforated and taken to a pesticide container depot. Non-recyclable containers should be triple-rinsed (if appropriate) and taken to municipal landfill. Empty paper or cardboard containers taken to a pesticide container depot or a municipal landfill – it’s preferable not to burn them.

Unused, unwanted or obsolete Pesticides

Your local distributor may take back unopened containers with complete and current labels. In Canada, there are province-wide obsolete pesticide collections programs that run periodically. Empty Pesticide Container Recycling and Obsolete Pesticide Disposal (CleanFARMS) can be reached at 877.622.4460.