Pesticides - Best Practice Guides


Pesticide Container Disposal

New disposal legislation

New farm waste legislation “Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations” expected in early in 2006 forbids the burning or burial of pesticide containers on farms and holdings in England and Wales. When implemented the regulations will apply with immediate effect. So farmers in England and Wales must not follow previous advice on container incineration. Detailed advice on the regulations are available from the Environment Agency (EA). Similar changes are taking place in Scotland and Northern Ireland (see overleaf)

This guide gives advice on the disposal of agrochemical packaging. More detailed guidance on Container Cleaning and disposal of other pesticide waste is included in separate CPA Guides.

WARNING: Using the Drum Incinerator will be Illegal

From early 2006 the drum incinerator should no longer be used.

EA recognise that the disposal of empty pesticide containers will be an issue for many farmers for some time to come and time is need ed for alternative disposal routes to be established. Therefore the EA “does not intend to take any form of enforcement action over the use of drum incinerators that burn rinsed polyethylene pesticide containers for a period of one year following the introduction of the agricultural waste regulations

Why can’t I use the drum incinerator?

The drum incinerator was originally introduced to reduce emissions of dark smoke. In the light of improving environmental and health standards and the impending farm waste legislation the EA has carried out a technical and scientific assessment of the drum incinerator. The assessment showed that the design of the drum incinerator would not meet modern environmental, health and safety standards. Technically individual farmers may apply for a waste management licence to use a drum incinerator, but the EA have already indicated that it is extremely unlikely that they would give such an authorisation.

What are my options?

The only legal options for pesticide containers are recycling or professional waste disposal. This means you must use either:

a recycling or waste disposal contractor or
a licensed disposal sites, subject to their availability and conditions for accepting such waste

The following measures will make managing packaging waste easier and reduce possible costs:

  •  Reduce packaging materials
    • Look carefully at the packaging solutions available for the products you use;
    • Consider returnable packs such as Surefill and Linkpak if they fit your farming system;
    • Choose larger pack sizes if they fit your needs; bigger packs mean less packaging.
  • Clean the packaging
    • Clean packaging is regarded as non-hazardous and will attract lower disposal charges than dirty packaging. It can cost five times more to dispose of hazardous materials.
    • Avoid contaminating any clean material by careless working practices - keep the cardboard outers clean;
  • Sort the material
    • Check with your waste disposal/recycling contractor how and if materials need to be sorted in to different packaging types eg: cardboard, plastics, metals
  • Choose the contractor carefully
    Recycling and waste disposal contractors offer a range of services and can handle a range of different waste materials. Check the following:
    • Will the material be recycled? - this is obviously preferable
    • Can they handle all the materials you wish to dispose of?
    • Do they provide bins for storing and segregating materials?
    • How often they will collect this will affect the amount of storage capacity you need?

Costs will vary depending on disposal routes, frequency of collections, the volumes/weights and types of material requiring disposal.

Find the right contractor

A new website is being set up to enable farmers and growers to identify suitable recycling and waste disposal contractors. The site allows users to search by post code and waste type. (Note: the website is expected to go live in November 2005.) Also look in Yellow Pages for registered waste disposal contractors.

Whoever you choose to remove your waste there is a legal obligation, (a 'Duty of Care') on you, to ensure that they are an 'authorised person' for example a registered waste carrier. Contractors should also provide you with a waste transfer note to demonstrate that you have passed your waste to them. Keep this note safely as you may need to provide evidence of correct disposal practice.

The advice in this Guide has been prepared after consultation with the Pesticides Safety Directorate, HSE and the UK environment agencies.
This guide was produced by the Crop Protection Association as part of The Voluntary Initiative.
The Voluntary Initiative is a programme of measures agreed by Government to minimise the environmental impact of pesticides.

(C) Voluntary Initiative November 2005

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