FAQs: Pesticide Container Recycling

Why can't pesticide containers be burned or buried?

What are the containers recycled into?

How can paper pesticide bags be disposed of?

My county isn't recycling yet, but an adjoining county is. Can I take my containers to another county?

How can I keep my containers clean and dry until recycling day?

How clean do my containers need to be?

How can I keep track of when and where recycling days are being held?

If a county is interested in recycling pesticide containers, what are some of the options available?


Why can't pesticide containers be burnt or buried?

- According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), the agency that is responsible for the creation and enforcement of this law, pesticide containers are considered a "trade waste and, as such, may not be burned. (Source: SC Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 62.2).

Burying or dumping of these containers is prohibited under the following SCDHEC regulations:

Solid Waste Policy and Management Act of 1991, Section 44-96-290 (A)
Pollution Control Act, Section 48-1-90 (a)
Regulation 61-5 Sections II and III

For further information about these regulations, contact Ronald Kinney at 803.896.4092 or Charles Strange at 803.896.4134

What are the containers recycled into?

- Containers are recycled into plastic pallets that will be used to ship crop-protection chemicals to dealers, lawn edging, and parking barriers.

For further information, contact the Ag Container Recycling Council.

How can paper pesticide bags be disposed of?

- Shake out as much of the powdered pesticide as possible, then roll up the bag and dispose of in a landfill. Some pesticide bags have plastic or foil linings that can be rinsed; these bags should be rinsed to remove any residue, then rolled up and disposed of in a landfill. These bags cannot be recycled at this time.

(Source: Ag Chemicals Handbook, 1995, p. 28)

My county isn't recycling yet, but an adjoining county is. Can I take my containers to another county?

- Probably, but it pays to ask before making the trip. Call either your local Clemson Extension office or the following:

Aiken, Aiken County Department of Solid Waste, 803.534.1538
Edgefield, McCormick or  Saluda Tri County Landfill, 803.275.5345
Greenwood, Greenwood County Dept of Public Works, 864.942.8754               
Horry, Horry County Dept of Public Works, 843.347.1651                                     
Orangeburg, Orangeburg County Public Works, 803.536.5045

How can I keep my containers clean and dry until recycling day?

- There are several ways to help keep your containers clean and dry until recycling day:

  • Store in a covered shelter (i.e., barn, shed, etc)
  • Store in plastic bags on pallets.
  • Store in a cotton wagon.  
  • Store on plastic (i.e., tarp, poly-sheeting, mulch film) surrounded by chicken wire fence with an additional piece of plastic on top to keep out rain.

How clean do my containers need to be?

- Our recycler requests that there be no visible pesticide residue. Some chemicals leave a stain on the plastic that cannot be removed (i.e., Treflan); these containers will be accepted if there is no other removable residue present. Caps and instruction booklets should be removed, but the labels may be left on the containers.

How can I keep track of when and where recycling days are being held?

- The Clemson University Department of Pesticide Regulation uses many means of publicizing recycling events; however, time constraints sometimes make it difficult to publicize well in advance of the collection day. Contact your local Clemson Extension office or Leslie Godfrey at 803.736.7680 with scheduling questions.

If a county is interested in recycling pesticide containers, what are some of the options available?

- a). If a county has recycling centers, it is possible to integrate pesticide containers into this existing program. Several counties (Calhoun, Horry, Orangeburg) accept properly cleaned plastic pesticide containers at their convenience centers whenever the facility is open. Personnel at the site inspect and accept/reject containers; they are stored at a central facility such as the county landfill, unused storage building, etc. until the granulator is next in the area.

b.) Scheduled public collection days are also an option. Clemson Extension and the Department of Pesticide Regulation personnel agree on a date and site for collection. On the appointed day, personnel from both agencies will be at the site to inspect and accept containers. To have a scheduled collection day the following is needed: 

  • site to hold collection
  • personnel to inspect containers
  • site to store containers until they can be chipped 
  • if the collection site and the storage site are not the same place, a means of transporting containers from collection to storage site will be needed

c.) Private collections are an option if you generate sufficient (200 or more) containers per year on your own. The chipper truck can come to your facility or farm and grind the containers on-site. If you don't generate that many on your own, check with your neighbors. If you can persuade your neighboring growers to recycle, the chipper can still come and grind on-site. One farm can act as the "chip site" while everyone else in the local area brings their containers to that spot for grinding. The truck can also go from farm to farm within a local area if convenient.

To schedule a private collection, call USA Recycling, Inc., at 1.800.654.3145 or Leslie Godfrey at 803.736.7680.

Please bear in mind that the chipper operator inspects each container before grinding. If the container is not acceptable for recycling, the container will be returned to you for disposal by other means.