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Agricultural Waste Pesticides

A brief description of agricultural waste pesticides and the importance of their proper disposal or recycling.

The TCEQ is no longer conducting agricultural waste pesticide collections -- the Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas AgriLife Extension Service now offer pesticide waste and pesticide container collections.

Using Agricultural Chemicals in Texas

Agricultural chemical products are used in Texas and throughout the United States to control pests and increase crop yields. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is designated as the state’s lead agency in the regulation of pesticide use and application. TDA is responsible for licensing and training pesticide applicators, overseeing worker protection, registering pesticides for sale in the state and working to minimize unnecessary impacts to agriculture.

Proper use and management practices can help keep you and others safe. Correctly using these products, disposing of unused products, and safely recycling, reconditioning, or disposing of the empty containers is a must for all agricultural users. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and Texas AgriLife Extension work together to offer free and anonymous agricultural pesticide waste and pesticide container collection events for agricultural producers across Texas. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service  also offers a wide range of Pesticide Safety Education Resources to the agricultural community.

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Handling Used Agricultural Chemical Containers

Agricultural chemical containers come in many shapes and sizes and may be made of paper, metal, or plastic. Empty paper containers cannot be reconditioned or recycled; take them to an authorized incinerator or landfill. Metal and plastic containers can be reconditioned or recycled if they are properly rinsed.

Currently, properly rinsed agricultural chemical containers are not classified as hazardous waste, and in many cases, are disposed of in authorized landfills. Some landfills have already begun to refuse these containers or charge a fee for disposal. It would be advisable to call prior to taking the containers to a landfill. As mentioned above, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and Texas AgriLife Extension coordinate collection events where agricultural producers can dispose of empty, triple-rinsed containers. Other methods once used to destroy these containers, such as burning or burying them, are no longer viable disposal options. In Texas, open burning of pesticide containers is illegal. Disposal at specially designed incineration facilities is often too costly for the average applicator.

Burying these containers may lead to serious environmental consequences, such as groundwater contamination. Today, many environmentally concerned land developers, buyers, and lenders require that environmental audits be conducted on a property before it is purchased or sold.

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Recycling Agricultural Chemical Containers

USAg Recycling provides detailed information about why you should rinse and recycle your empty plastic pesticide containers. Many scrap iron and steel recyclers throughout Texas may accept and recycle properly rinsed, empty, metal, agricultural chemical containers.

If you have large quantities of empty plastic pesticide containers, we suggest you contact USAg Recycling , a contractor for the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) , which promotes the recycling of these containers. The ACRC supports state-level collection programs and works directly with recycling contractors.

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Managing Lead-Acid Batteries, Used Oil, Used Oil Filters and Antifreeze

Lead-Acid Batteries

Discarding or improperly disposing of a lead-acid battery is illegal in Texas. Texas law requires businesses that sell lead-acid batteries to accept your old one for recycling when you purchase a new battery. Ask your local auto parts store or auto service shop if they will accept extra batteries for recycling.

Used Oil & Used Oil Filters

Texas law prohibits dumping used oil on land or into storm drains or waterways. It is also illegal to use as a dust suppressant. Some communities have collection centers for used oil and properly drained oil filters. Also, some auto service centers, listed in the yellow pages under “Oil Change & Lube” or “Auto Repair & Service,” accept used oil and sometimes used filters from the public. Check in your local yellow pages under “Oil-Used & Waste” for used oil collection services. It is advisable to call before taking used oil and used oil filters to any used oil center since the quantity they can accept may be limited.


Some auto service centers, listed in the yellow pages under “Oil Change & Lube” or “Auto Repair & Service,” will accept used antifreeze for recycling. Check under “Oil-Used & Waste” for antifreeze collection services.

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Managing Hazardous and Universal Waste

Wastes that meet the definition of hazardous waste must be managed as hazardous or universal waste. Guidance for managing hazardous and universal waste can be found in the TCEQ publication rg-234 “ Industrial and Hazardous Waste: Rules and Regulations for Small-Quantity Generators.

You can review additional guidance on managing Universal Waste.

You may be able to find Commercial Management Facilities for Hazardous and Industrial Solid Wastes near you.

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Useful Resources

The following links provide additional information about this topic and may take you off the TCEQ website .

In Case of Emergency

Local Emergency Responder: call 911

After calling 911 you may need to call:

For Chemical Emergencies (such as chemical spills or leaks, or chemical-related fires or accidents): call CHEMTREC at 1-800-424-9300

For Exposure Emergencies: call the Texas State Poison Control Center 1-800-764-7661

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