You are legally responsible for ensuring that all waste your business produces or handles is stored, transported and disposed of safely - this is your duty of care.

Pesticides and biocides are likely to be classed as hazardous/special waste. You will have to separate this from other waste.

You must ensure that anyone you pass your waste on to is authorised to take and transport it, and that they take it to an authorised disposal site. You can find who is allowed to deal with your waste in our guideline:

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Keep copies of waste paperwork

As the waste producer, you must ensure that all waste leaving your site is covered by a waste transfer note, or a consignment note if it is hazardous/special waste.

You must keep copies of waste transfer notes for two years and consignment notes for three years.

Hazardous/special waste

Deal with dilute pesticides, biocides and wash water

You should treat water used for washing down equipment or rinsing empty containers as dilute pesticides or biocides. There are different disposal options for dealing with dilute pesticides, biocides and wash water:

  • Use a licensed waste contractor
  • Dispose to land. You must get a groundwater authorisation from the NIEA. In Scotland see GBR 23 of the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR)
  • Dispose to biobed.You must register an exemption from waste management licensing with the NIEA, or with SEPA in Scotland.
  • Dispose to sewer. You must get a trade effluent consent from your water and sewerage company.

NIEA: Licensed waste sites on the public registers

Read Section 5 of the DAERA Code of practice for using plant protection products

DAERA: Code of practice for using plant protection products

SEPA: Who is registered?

Water UK: Find your water and sewerage provider

Scotland on Tap: Water and sewerage providers

You may need to register an exemption from waste management licensing to dispose of wash water from pesticide and biocide containers.

Environmental permits and licences – an overview

Deal with concentrates and ready-to-use formulations

You must transport and dispose of concentrates and ready-to-use formulations as hazardous waste. You must use a waste contractor.

You should never dilute concentrates or ready-to-use formulations to dispose of them as dilute pesticides or biocides.

Rinse packaging and containers correctly

Check product labels to see if your waste containers and packaging should be rinsed. You must never rinse or clean containers of hydrogen cyanide gassing powders or aluminium, magnesium or zinc phosphates as they react with moisture to produce a poisonous gas.

If your containers and packaging can be rinsed, you must follow the product label instructions and rinse the container, the lid and foil seal. Place the rinsed foil seal inside the container. You can dispose of containers that have been triple rinsed and drained as normal waste.

If your containers cannot be rinsed, you must handle them as if they contain pesticides or biocides. You must dispose of them as hazardous/special waste.

Reduce waste pesticides and biocides

Reduce your waste pesticides and biocides by following the codes of good practice.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice

DAERA: Code of practice for using plant protection products

Scottish Government: The PEPFAA Code

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