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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Pesticide Concentrate Disposal Options

Disposing of pesticide concentrate that is no longer needed or legal to use, can be a burden, but there are safe disposal options available to you. The first step is to store the product in a safe place (away from children, potential flooding sites, etc.) for future, proper disposal or collection. Be sure the container is labeled and in good condition.

One method of getting rid of excess pesticide concentrate is to contact the pesticide manufacturer to see if they will take it back. Another method is to contact other possible users of the pesticide to see if they have a use for it. For legal reasons, never sell a pesticide unless you are a licensed dealer. Both of these suggestions are based on the assumption that the pesticide is in the original, fully-labeled container. Keep in mind that you may apply a pesticide to a labeled site even if the pest is absent.

Pesticides with out-dated labels, pesticides where the labeled uses have changed or the pesticide has been taken off of the market, can usually still be used until supplies are exhausted. This means that for most pesticides with out-dated labels, you can legally use up the pesticide according to the label on the container. There are exceptions to the rule because for some pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow old label uses for only a short time after product cancellation or label change. In rare cases, U.S. EPA may put a stop use on a product at the time of cancellation. For instance, it is no longer legal to use old stocks of 2,4,5-T or chlordane in the U.S.A. Contact the pesticide manufacturer to find out whether you can still use the product. One can also contact the state lead agency, Illinois Department of Agriculture (217-785-2427), or the U.S. EPA to obtain the same information.

Collection programs provide another way to get rid of unwanted pesticides. These have been available somewhat sporadically over the last several years. A program of this type involves a sponsoring state agency, a source of grant or other funds, and frequently an industry or other group that will take responsibility for assisting the program's development. The University of Illinois Extension advertises these collection programs when they occur.

  1. For "household activity" pesticides, contact the Illinois EPA (217-785-8604) and ask when they plan to offer their next "Household Hazardous Waste Collection" in your area. Alternatively, you can view the collection sites at
  2. For agricultural pesticides, contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture (217-785-2427) and ask when they plan to offer their next "Agricultural Pesticide Clean Sweep" site in your area.
  3. For structural pesticides (those used by professional applicators to control pests in and around structures), contact the Illinois Department of Public Health (217-782-4674) and ask when they plan to offer their next "Structural Pesticide Clean Sweep" site in your area.

With commercial agricultural or structural pesticide collection programs, there may be a period before the collection time when those wanting to dispose of pesticides must declare which pesticides and how much of each they will be bringing to the collection site. This allows the sponsoring agency to work with the commercial waste collector to get the maximum amount of pesticide disposal for the money. In this process, some pesticides or pesticide formulations may be refused.

The most expensive option is to contact a waste hauler/collector. There will be large disposal and transport fees involved. Even a few small containers with transport fees are likely to cost about $1,000. Your local waste hauler may be able to dispose of certain pesticides, if not, they should be able to refer you to a company that can deal with the waste. These may include:

If you contact a commercial waste collector, they will ask you to submit an inventory of chemicals. They will then provide you with a price quote and set up a collection date and time.

Bruce Paulsrud and Phil Nixon (10/98; revised 3/01)
University of Illinois Extension