Environmental Health
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  handling empty pesticide containers  
 
  Is It Really Empty?  l  How Do I Triple Rinse?  l  What Do I Do with the Rinsate?  l

Is Disposal the Only Option?  l  More Information on Recycling Pesticide Containers 
 
     
 

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Is It Really Empty

An unrinsed, “empty” pesticide container is not really empty.  It can be just as hazardous as a full container, because of the leftover residue inside.  Therefore, empty pesticide containers must be triple-rinsed prior to disposal or recycling. Containers bearing the signal words “Danger” or “Warning” must be triple-rinsed, per Chapter 173-303-160 of the Washington Administrative Code.

How Do I Triple Rinse

Empty as much of the pesticide into the sprayer as possible.  Turn five-gallon or smaller containers upside-down over the spray tank and let them finish draining for at least 30 seconds after they stop dripping.  Pump or drain larger containers as empty as possible.

Add an appropriate solvent (often water) or cleaner to fill the empty container about one-fourth full.  Shake smaller containers thoroughly.  For larger containers, add enough liquid so that it contacts the entire inside surface.

Drain the container completely by holding it over the spray tank or pumping out the liquid into another container. The solvent plus leftover pesticide residue mixture removed from the container is known as the “rinsate.”

Repeat this process at least two more times, until the container is clean. When triple rinsing will not sufficiently clean the container, keep rinsing until the rinsate runs clear from the container.

What Do I Do With The Rinsate?

The best thing to do with rinsate is to use it in preparing the spray mixture for that particular pesticide.  This is the safest for you and the environment.  It also creates less waste and saves money.  If you collect rinsate for later use or disposal as a hazardous waste, do not mix rinsate from different pesticides.  These mixtures may react to form dangerous vapors or mixtures.  Label each container and store in a safe and secure manner as you would other pesticide products.

Do not dump rinsate on the ground, into storm drains, floor drains, sinks, or toilets.  It could contaminate soils, your septic system, the groundwater, or surface water.

Is Disposal The Only Option For Clean Pesticide Containers?

Clean pesticide containers can be legally disposed in the garbage. However, businesses looking for ways to cut their costs have discovered an alternative to the old practice of disposal. More and more businesses are choosing to rinse, remove the packing slip, foil, and lid, and recycle empty pesticide containers.

How Do I Get More Information On Recycling Pesticide Containers?

NW Ag Plastics provides a free collection and disposal service for empty pesticide containers that have been properly cleaned and prepared for disposal. This organization travels throughout the state to collect empty containers and reduce the amount of solid waste going to regional landfills, or being improperly disposed. The empty containers are chipped into plastic granules and sold to manufacturers, who recycle the chipped plastic into approved products, such as fencing, pallets, and drainpipe.

NW Ag Plastics has specific requirements on how containers must be prepared prior to collection and disposal. Visit their website for more information about the steps to take before bringing empty containers to the collection event nearest your city.

For more information on recycling empty containers, contact the following:

  • NW Ag Plastics — 509-457-3850 www.nwagplastics.com
  • Clarke Brown (co-owner/operator) — 509-965-6809 or 509-952-7146
 
 
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This page last updated: 08/11/14