How to dispose of pesticides safely
Here are some answers to regularly asked questions.
Why are pesticides a disposal problem?
Pesticides are chemicals designed to control pests such as weeds, insects and rodents. They can be poisonous to pets, livestock and humans. Some pesticides are banned or restricted as they have long-lasting hazardous effects on the environment.
Throwing pesticides into the garbage, on the ground or down the drain can pollute lakes, streams and drinking water with these toxic chemicals.
Types of pesticides
- Herbicide: a chemical designed to kill plants
- Insecticide: a chemical designed to kill insects
- Rodenticide: a chemical designed to kill rodents
How can I get rid of leftover pesticides?
- The best way to get rid of leftover pesticides is to use them up!
- Follow the instructions on the pesticide label and do not overuse pesticides.
- Rinse the empty pesticide containers three times before throwing them in the garbage and use the rinse water as a pesticide. Smaller containers can be placed in the red lidded garbage bin, larger containers can be taken to Council's waste management facilities as part of the drumMUSTER program.
WARNING: Do not burn or reuse pesticide containers.
It you can't use your pesticides, give them to someone who can.
Give leftover pesticides to:
- neighbours and friends
- garden clubs
- community groups
DO NOT GIVE AWAY PESTICIDES THAT ARE BANNED, UNLABELLED OR DAMAGED.
Which pesticides can't I use?
Pesticides that are banned, damaged or unlabelled shouldn't be used or given away. Most banned pesticides will contain one of the following ingredients: Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin, Endrin, Arsenic, Cyanide, 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D, Lindane.
This is not a complete list. If your pesticide was purchased before 1986, contact the Department of Agriculture to check if it is banned. Damaged pesticides include caked powders and liquids that have been frozen or have separated.
What can I do with pesticides that I can't use?
The only way to safely dispose of these pesticides is to take them to the Household Chemical Clean Out Collection held in the Shire yearly.
Continue to store unwanted pesticides until this collection. If you are moving or cannot store unwanted pesticides, contact the organisations at the end of this sheet for more information.
How can I store pesticides safely?
- Make sure that the pesticide container is clearly labelled with the name of the pesticide and the amount enclosed.
- Store the pesticide in a locked closet or cabinet away from children or pets.
- Store the pesticide in a dry area. Wet or damp pesticide containers may rust or leak.
- If the pesticide container is damaged, place the pesticide (in its original container) into a sealed plastic container, a box lined with two plastic garbage bags or a metal container with a lid.
What do I do if the pesticide has spilt or leaked?
- Keep children and pets away.
- Call the Fire Brigade or HazMat Unit to come and contain the pesticide and make it safe.
- Call the organisations at the end of this sheet to find out how you can dispose of the pesticide.
How can I avoid having waste pesticides?
- Be sure that you need a pesticide before you buy. Your local nursery or the Department of Agriculture can help you decide.
- Use alternatives to pesticides when possible.
- Purchase only the amount you need.
- Use up leftover pesticides before buying more and before the pesticides expire.
- Waste pesticides are often the result of improper storage. Follow the storage instructions on this fact sheet.
As with all household hazardous wastes, the best protection for our health and the environment is to prevent household products from becoming hazardous wastes.
If you have any questions about hazardous waste, contact:
- Council's Waste Minimisation Officer T: 02 4474 1029
- The Office of Environment and Heritage T: 131 555