Environmental Stewardship
Environmental Stewardship
Pesticide Disposal
Excess Spray Mixture
Empty Containers and Recycling
Excess Product
Material from Clean-Up of Spills or Leaks
Containment Pad/Sump Residue
Pesticide Mixtures Used in Situations Other than the Field
Disposal of Seed Treatment Products and Treated Seed
Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing
Stewardship Home
After the Pesticide is Applied... Important Principles for Good Environmental Stewardship

This site provides general principles and external links to organizations that can assist you on the proper disposition of pesticides in your area. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions link located on the Syngenta Home Page for all terms, conditions, and disclaimers.

Always follow all local, state, and federal regulations regarding pesticide handling and disposition, and review the product label for any specific disposal directions.

Pesticides are valuable options in pest control programs. Protecting the environment is as important as controlling the pest when using a pesticide. Proper use extends beyond careful selection, preparation, and application of the pesticide to disposition of the pesticide in its various forms - as excess spray mixture, rinsate from containers and application equipment, empty containers, excess product, material from cleanup of spills and leaks, material from sumps and rinsate systems, pesticide mixtures used in situations other than the field, and contaminated clothing.

The Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) provides contact information for state offices that regulate pesticides at

Some wastewater discharges require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. For contact information on state offices that regulate the discharge of wastewater to water bodies in each state, click here.

The EPA has a web site on Pesticide Storage and Disposal at

1. Excess Spray Mixture

Excess spray mixture is diluted pesticide that is left over in the spray tank after a pesticide application. It is always preferable to eliminate or minimize the potential for excess spray mixture by careful measurement, calibration, and application.

Excess spray mixture should not be stored. If environmental conditions are not conducive for immediate application on another registered site, maintain periodic or continuous agitation as recommended on the label, so that the pesticide does not settle in the tank.

If a pesticide-containing spray mixture cannot be used in accordance with label directions, it must be evaluated by the applicator as to its waste classification before its disposition is determined. Some pesticide-containing mixtures can be disposed of directly through sewage treatment facilities. However, this depends on the specific product and the specific facility, and therefore requires that local authorities be notified and permission obtained. Permits may be required. Other pesticide-containing mixtures may be regulated as wastewaters, solids, or hazardous wastes.

Sprayers with in-line pesticide-injection systems eliminate excess spray mixture entirely. The pesticide and water are kept in separate tanks, and a separate metering pump feeds the pesticide into the spray line. Any excess water is left in the water tank, and excess pesticide remains in the pesticide tank.

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2. Rinsate

Rinsate is pesticide-containing water (or other liquid) that results from rinsing a pesticide container, pesticide equipment, or other pesticide-containing materials. Rinsate is much more diluted than excess spray mixture and can be used as part (up to 5%) of the water (or other liquid) portion of the next spray mixture of that chemical, if used the same day. Rinsate should not be stored and, depending on the type of application, may not be reusable if contaminated with dirt or other debris.

Rinse application equipment properly, over an impermeable surface that drains to a sump. Rinse water can then be recovered from the sump.

As with excess spray mixture, it may be possible to dispose of rinsate directly through some sewage treatment facilities, if permission is granted directly by the facility.

Take clean water to the field in a separate tank to clean equipment. This eliminates the need for rinsing equipment back at the mix site. As an added precaution, rinse equipment at different locations in the field (always over a labeled site). Collect rinsates, filter out any debris, and use as part of the make-up water in the spray tank for the next application of that same pesticide product. Most product labels do not allow the reuse of rinsewater in mixtures with other pesticides. However, see special allowances under the PR Notice entitled "Toxicologically Significant Levels of Pesticide Active Ingredients" at

Many new sprayers are equipped with a small tank that holds clean water to rinse out the spray tank in the field. Immediately following the application, clean water can be pumped into the large spray tank, and the rinse water can be sprayed over the target field, provided registered rates are not exceeded and application is consistent with label directions.

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3. Empty Containers and Recycling

Rinse chemical containers of liquid products thoroughly at the mixing site as soon as they are emptied, using the triple rinse method or a pressure rinser as described below.

Triple rinsing is the most common procedure for rinsing containers holding liquid formulations. It involves filling each container at least one-quarter full with the proper diluent (water, oil, or liquid fertilizer), replacing the lid, shaking the container to rinse all internal surfaces, and then emptying the liquid from the container into the spray tank, allowing 30 seconds to drain (unless the product is to be applied without dilution). This is done three times with each container. Puncture the top and bottom of the container to prevent reuse, and crush metal containers flat.

Pressure rinsing, a faster procedure that produces less rinsate, allows containers to be rinsed while pesticides are emptied into the spray tank. Special nozzles attached to a garden hose are used to puncture and force a spray inside empty containers held over the spray tank or holding tank, allowing the rinsate to drain into the tank.

When using containers holding dry formulations, completely empty the container, and open both ends to help remove any remaining pesticide and prevent reuse of the container.

Non-Refillable Plastic Containers: If containers are non-refillable high-density polyethylene, there are collection/recycling programs for agricultural, professional, and commercial applicators in most states. Contact the Ag Container Recycling Council for recycling assistance.

Where there is no recycling program, deposit all empty containers in a licensed sanitary landfill. Do not stockpile empty containers.

Dissolvable Packaging and Refillable/Returnable Containers: Use of dissolvable packaging, refillable containers, or returnable containers avoids the problems associated with finding a suitable disposal site for empty containers. Contact your county extension or county solid waste management agency for local collection/recycling procedures.

For Syngenta refillable/returnable containers (such as mini-bulk), contact your Syngenta sales representative for recycling assistance.

Burning: Burning is illegal in many states. Before using this method of disposal, refer to state and local regulations.

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4. Excess Product

Excess pesticides can be given to another qualified user (if the product registration has not expired), taken to a qualified disposal site, stored until there is a waste collection day, or disposed of through a waste transporter. Continue to store excess product properly, while awaiting disposition. Avoid having to dispose of excess product by purchasing product only as needed.

Special disposal programs exist for products that no longer contain a label of identification. Some states and counties periodically have an obsolete/excess pesticide recovery program, or have specific locations where these pesticides can be taken.

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5. Material from Clean-up of Spills or Leaks

Material from a spill or leak can usually be applied as a pesticide, if the spill or leak is from a currently registered pesticide. Remove as much of the spill as possible by pumping or other means. Materials such as pet litter, soil, sawdust, or other absorbent material should be used to absorb any remaining liquid pesticides and water/detergent mixtures used to clean the spill area. These materials, and soil contaminated in a spill, can usually be collected and placed in a suitable container and then applied as a pesticide to a registered site.

If a site has been contaminated over a long period by pesticide discharges, professional remediation may be necessary.

Contact your state to determine any notification requirements that may be applicable to a spill or leak. The Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) provides contact information for state offices that regulate pesticides at

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6. Containment Pad/Sump Residue

A containment pad/sump is a safety system designed to contain and recover spills, rinsates, leaks, and other pesticide-containing substances. Any solids left in the containment pad/sump should be dried and spread evenly over a large part of the field in accordance with label directions. If this is not possible, these solids should be taken to an approved waste disposal site. Information on constructing a containment pad/sump is available from your local County Extension Service, which can be located at

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7. Pesticide Mixtures Used in Situations Other than the Field

In certain greenhouse or packinghouse situations, pesticide mixtures are included in the treatment regime. As in other situations, it is important to minimize the amount of mixture created so there is little to no excess remaining. If a pesticide-containing mixture cannot be used in accordance with label directions, it must be evaluated by the applicator as to its waste classification before its disposition is determined. Some pesticide-containing mixtures can be disposed of directly through sewage treatment facilities. However, this depends on the specific facility and therefore requires that local authorities be notified and permission obtained. Permits may be required. Other pesticide-containing mixtures may be regulated as wastewaters, solids, or hazardous wastes. Many states regulate the various wastes from packinghouses through other agencies in the state government. Click here for state contacts for wastewater disposal.

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8. Disposal of Seed Treatment Products and Treated Seed
Always follow federal, state, tribal and local regulations. Do not use treated seed for food, feed, or oil production.

Small Quantities of Pesticide-Treated Seed

The best way to dispose of a small quantity of leftover seed that has been treated with a pesticide is to plant it in fallow or other non-cropped areas of the farm. Note that treated seed may be hazardous to wildlife and must be planted according to seed bag instructions.

Whether or not the seed is being planted as potential wildlife habitat, it is important to use the same practices and precautions that you would use when planting treated seed to produce a crop:

1) Use an agronomically acceptable seeding rate, using normal practices for that crop (for example, local planting dates and soil temperatures) as recommended by your county agricultural extension agent.

2) Plant treated seed at a depth greater than 1 inch (2.5 cm). If the seed is broadcast on the soil surface, incorporate it immediately.

3) Immediately cover small quantities of treated seed that are spilled during loading and in areas such as row ends, and plant seed away from bodies of water. Collect larger quantities of spilled seed.

4) Do not sow seed around the headland, in a field, or in a non-cropped area in any way that results in double sowing, exposed seed, and/or a greater chance of off-target movement of the pesticide. Do not use higher than normal seeding rates, even if no rotational crop is planned.

If treated seed no longer has acceptable germination for the intended use, possible options include 1) disposal in an approved municipal landfill, 2) use as a fuel source for power plants or cement kilns, 3) high temperature incineration by a waste management facility, or 4) fermentation in an alcohol-producing process at an ethanol plant. Excess treated seed may be used for ethanol production only if (a) by-products (distillers grains, mash, etc.) are not used for livestock feed and (b) no measurable residues of pesticide remain in ethanol by-products that are used in agronomic practice.

See details under “Large Quantities” and contact the specific facility to determine if it can accept pesticide-treated seed.

Disposal of Bags that Contained Treated Seed

Used seed bags may contain treated seed dust or treated seed. Always check state and local regulations prior to disposing bags which contained treated seed.

In the absence of specific regulations:
  • Used treated seed bags may be burnt as a fuel for power or industrial heat generation.
  • Used bags may be incinerated either in a permitted hazardous waste incinerator or municipal solid waste incinerator with appropriate air emissions control equipment.
  • Landfills may be used as a last resort and only in a lined landfill with leachate collection and treatment - at a minimum, a Subtitle D municipal solid waste landfill.
Do not recycle used seed bags that contained treated seed.

Large Quantities of Pesticide-Treated Seed

For disposal of large quantities of leftover treated seed that cannot be planted as described above, contact the pesticide manufacturer if you need more information than what is provided below.

Consult first with your state and local authorities to ensure that you are in compliance with appropriate regulations. Contact information for state and territory pesticide regulatory agencies can be found at

There are a variety of industries that may be able to dispose of treated seed.  However, a definitive answer on whether a municipal landfill, power plant, cement kiln, waste management facility, or ethanol plant will take seed treated with a particular pesticide can only be obtained by contacting the specific facility.

1. Disposal in an Approved Municipal Landfill

Disposal in approved municipal landfills is permitted in some states. However, landfill disposal is costly and usually not practical for large volumes of treated seed; and permits may be required.

If disposal is the selected option, seed treated with pesticides may be handled as normal solid waste or as hazardous waste, depending on the active ingredient (

Seed treated with Syngenta active ingredients (abamectin, azoxystrobin, difenoconazole, fludioxonil, fluxofenin, mancozeb, mefenoxam, and thiamethoxam), and resultant seed dust, are not classified as hazardous wastes under 40 CFR.261 - Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste. Note that states may have more stringent regulations. Seed treated with Syngenta active ingredients, and resultant seed dust, are subject to solid waste regulations at the state and local levels. Always check state and local regulations prior to disposing of treated seed or dust.

For transport purposes, seed treated with Syngenta active ingredients are classified as "Dirt, Grain, Seeds Contaminated with Pesticides/Non-DOT Regulated, Non-Hazardous Waste". This classification is applicable within the continental United States and is not applicable to international, ocean shipments.

If Syngenta seed treatment products are combined with other active ingredients, they may need to be classified differently. Check the status of each active ingredient regarding its waste classification status before committing to a disposal process.

The contacts for both solid and hazardous waste disposal in each state can be found at

2. Use as a Fuel Source for Power Plants or Cement Kilns

There are a variety of power plants that utilize alternative fuels. This list of power plants utilizing biomass, municipal solid waste, or non-fossil waste as an alternative fuel is extracted from the EPA National Electric Energy Data System (NEEDS) v3.02 ARRA, available at:

Cement kilns can be located at

3. High Temperature Incineration by a Waste Management Facility

Contact the waste management facility to determine if it can accept treated seed.  Note that this is likely to be an expensive option.

4. Fermentation in an Alcohol-Producing Process at an Ethanol Plant

In addition, some ethanol plants may be able to use treated seed as an alternate power source.

A map and lists of ethanol plants in the US and Canada is provided by Ethanol Producer Magazine on its website at Direct links are: List of ethanol plants in the US List of ethanol plants in Canada U.S. & Canada Fuel Ethanol Plant Map

What NOT to Do with Pesticide-Treated Seed or By-Products

1. Composting

Composting is NEVER recommended for pesticide-treated seed.

2. Spreading and Incorporating into Soil at Higher than Normal Seeding Rates

Spreading and incorporating (by disking, etc.) at higher than normal seeding rates is NEVER recommended for treated seed, even with proper incorporation (soil coverage). It is important to contact the pesticide manufacturer(s) to determine if spreading and incorporating may be possible under the specific set of circumstances (active ingredients, pesticide and seed rates, previous and future crops, etc.)

3. Land Application of Wastewater That Has NOT Met Local Standards, from Facilities Accepting Treated Seed

Land application of resultant wastewater that has NOT met local standards is NEVER allowed. Minimize wastewater by process recycling and dispose of any remaining material as a non-hazardous waste, e.g. by solidification and disposal in a Subtitle D landfill ( or incinerator. Alternatively, there are systems for treating pesticide containing liquid wastes by flocculation/filtration to remove solids, which still have to be disposed of as a waste, followed by carbon treatment, which could allow the reuse of the water. Comply with all applicable environmental regulations.

It may be feasible, in certain situations, to apply wastewater and/or solid waste to fields, with strict regulatory oversight and accurate pre-analysis that guarantees that any pesticide residues are within acceptable limits.

4. Use of Ethanol By-Products as Feed or in Agronomic Practice

Excess treated seed may be used for ethanol production only if (a) by-products (distillers grains, mash, etc.) are NOT used for livestock feed and (b) NO measurable residues of pesticide remain in ethanol by-products that are used in agronomic practice.

5.  Burning in a Wood or Corn Stove used in the Home or Shop for Heating or Cooking

NEVER burn pesticide-treated seed in a wood or corn stove used in the home or shop, for any purpose (heating, cooking, etc.) The hazards and risks from burning pesticide-treated seed in this way are unknown.

In Summary

The best way to deal with the disposal of treated seed is to minimize the amount that needs to be discarded.

When excess treated seed cannot be planted, government regulations, the willingness of the pesticide manufacturer to perform detailed residue analyses, and the interest of the disposal facility will have great impact on what disposal methods can be utilized.

In case of uncertainty or in the absence of government approval of a disposal method, high temperature incineration is the most appropriate method.

For More Information:

The International Seed Federation website has information on how to minimize the production of, and disposal of, excess treated seed.

For more information about treated seed disposal, contact your Syngenta Seed Care Sales Representative.

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9. Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing

Clothing worn during pesticide applications should be washed separately from other laundry before reuse. Follow the pesticide manufacturer's instruction for cleaning/maintaining personal protective equipment, including clothing.

Discard clothing that has been drenched or heavily contaminated with concentrated product. Do not reuse it. Most of this clothing can be discarded as normal solid waste. However, if the pesticide is regulated as hazardous waste, the contaminated clothing may have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

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10. Credits

Proper Disposal of Pesticide Waste. O. Norman Nesheim. Document PI-18. Pesticide Information Office, Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept., FL Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Revised August, 2000.

Reducing Pesticide Waste. H.E. Ozkan and M.L. Wilson. Bulletin 819. Ohio State University. 1991

The RCRA, Superfund & EPCRA Call Center (personal communication), 2002.

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