Disposing of unwanted pesticides and chemicals

January 31, 2019 10:52 AM
Blog Post

Winter months often find us making lists of things we want to get done prior to spring field work and planting. Now is a good time to consider how to safely dispose of old pesticides and chemicals. 

The easiest way to manage pesticides is to plan on not having any leftovers. If you hire an ag retailer to spray your pesticides, the retailer will properly dispose of leftover materials. If you do your own spraying, planning in advance to manage the quantity of pesticide products or spray volume will help reduce leftover products. The Safe Farm Project, part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, has a fact sheet Work Toward Zero Pesticide Storage, that offers tips on minimizing the volume of pesticides stored on farms. The fact sheet is available as a free download.  

If, despite careful planning, you have leftover pesticides, Iowa DNR provides a resource that may be able to help. Regional Collection Centers, referred to as RCCs, are permanent collection facilities designed to assist the public with proper management and disposal of household materials and hazardous wastes.  RCCs accept specific types of materials through either a regional or local outlet or through contracted services.  Almost all RCC facilities will accept pesticides from farms.

Just remember these tips: 

  • Call your local RCC to make an appointment
    • Some smaller facilities are closed during winter
  • Provide a description of the type/amount of materials being disposed
  • Farms are considered a business by EPA and there are federal limits on the quantity that you can bring to an RCC
  • There will be a fee for the chemicals/pesticides.
    • When you call, the RCC should be able to provide an estimated cost.

Additional resources include:


You can find a list of fact sheets on how best to dispose of products from lead paint and used motor oil to other household chemical waste on this website. 

Regional Collections Centers

On the Regional Collection Center Page, click on the interactive map for your county to access contact information. 

If you live in a county without local RCC services you are encouraged to speak with your local ag retailer, or DNR by calling 515-725-8359 for additional options for safe pesticide disposal. 


Angie Rieck-Hinz Field Agronomist in NC Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz is a field agronomist in north central Iowa for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She has worked for ISU Extension and Outreach for over 30 years, serving in various roles on campus and now in the field.  She works closely with farmers on integrated pes...