Oklahoma Water Resources Center

Go green, be safe; rinse pesticide containers properly


“Keep it clean” is more than good advice for adults when speaking around children, it’s also a key point for adults to remember when disposing of pesticide containers.

“Properly rinsing an empty container will remove more than 99 percent of pesticide residues remaining in the container, if it’s rinsed immediately after it has been emptied,” said Charles Luper, Cooperative Extension associate with the Oklahoma State University Pesticide Safety Education Program.

Luper explains there are basically two types of recommended rinsing: pressure rinsing and triple rinsing, but only professional applicators are likely to use pressure rinsing.

“Homeowners and other non-professional applicators typically are going to be using the triple-rinse method,” he said. “Triple rinsing can be used with small plastic, non-pressurized metal and glass containers.”

As the term implies, the container is rinsed three times and includes the following steps:
● Remove the cap or lid from the container, empty the pesticide into the sprayer tank and let the container drain for 30 seconds or longer.
● Fill the container 20 percent to 25 percent full of water or rinse solution.
● Secure the cap or lid on the container.
● Shake and swirl the container to rinse all inside surfaces.
● Remove the cap or lid from the container, pour the fluid from the container to the spray tank and let it drain for 30 seconds or more.
● Repeat the steps listed above two or more times.
● Clean all pesticide stains from the outside of the container.
● Dispose of the container and cap or lid according to label instructions.

“Proper rinsing of pesticide containers promotes environmental stewardship and public safety,” Luper said. “Pesticides are extremely useful chemicals, but potentially they can prove harmful to people, pets and the landscape if label directions are not followed, and that includes pesticide residues.”

Pesticide containers, once properly triple rinsed, are considered regular waste and not hazardous waste.

"That makes disposal much easier,” Luper said.

Donald Stotts
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
143 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4079
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: donald.stotts@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating; Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity employer.

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