Disposing of Unwanted Fertilizer and Pesticides

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Poster showing free pesticide disposal on November 16, 2023 at Meherrin Ag, 458 NC Highway 58, Trenton, NCOptions for disposing of unwanted or damaged fertilizer or pesticides are limited but with diligence, safe disposal is possible. Acceptable and legal options for disposal are below.


OPTION 1:  Store until a Pesticide Collection Day is Available

North Carolina offers free disposal events for the public. Generally, these events are held within each county every 2-3 years. A listing of collection dates is found at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program’s website. Note that in many cases, the consumer will need to store the product until the event. It should be overpacked for safety and transportation. Simply partially fill a plastic bucket with sand or cat litter. Place the unwanted pesticide in the partially filled bucket. Finish filling the bucket with the sand or cat litter and attach the lid. Label the bucket by placing tape on the lid and writing the name of the stored product on the lid.

Craven County rotates a schedule with Carteret and Jones Counties for pesticide collection day events. As such, a free pesticide disposal event is normally held in one of these counties each year. Additionally, the Coastal Environmental Partnership offers free Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) collection events in Pamlico, Carteret, and Craven Counties.

It is preferred that pesticides be in the original container and have the original label. If the pesticide is not in its original container or is damaged, it must be over-packed in a safe, closable plastic container. Printed labels are acceptable if attached prior to delivery. Always follow these rules:

  • Leave pesticide(s) in the original container(s) with the label intact.
  • Handle containers with chemical resistant gloves and other appropriate protective clothing and equipment.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after handling.
  • Handle containers in a manner to prevent spillage.

Transporting Pesticides

  • Make sure all pesticide containers are securely closed. Containers that cannot be securely closed should be packed within another container that can be securely closed.
  • Line the storage area of the transport vehicle with plastic sheeting to contain any potential spillage that might occur and simplify any cleanup and decontamination.
  • If possible, arrange the pesticides by hazard class (flammables, corrosives, oxidizers, poisons) to prevent mixing of incompatible materials should spillage occur.
  • Make sure labels are securely attached.
  • Arrange containers in your vehicle so that they are braced to prevent shifting that may result in container damage and/or leakage.
  • Keep containers dry during transport. Loads in open vehicles such as pickup trucks should be covered in the event of rainfall.
  • Do not transport pesticide wastes in a manner that will allow fumes to enter the vehicle.
  • Make a list of the pesticides that you are transporting. Include on the list the name(s) of the pesticide(s), number of containers, and hazard class (when known).
  • Drive directly to the pesticide collection program site after you load your vehicle.
  • Drive safely!

You are responsible for any spillage, damage, subsequent cleanup, and restoration that might occur while you are transporting the wastes, regardless of who caused the accident. The state, county, and its contractor are not responsible for any spillage that occurs before the collection site accepts the waste. Drive safely and follow directions from those at the collection site.

OPTION 2:  Give the pesticide to someone that can use it.

This is perhaps the simplest means to get rid of unwanted pesticides. Simply give to a neighbor or friend that will use it.

OPTION 3:  Pay a company to dispose of it

There are many companies that provide disposal of hazardous waste. Most will require similar storage, labeling, and handling as mentioned above. Too, expect to pay a high fee for disposal that may vary by amount and type of pesticide. Referral of friends, local business listing or internet searches will provide a lists of companies willing to provide this service. N.C. Cooperative Extension does not provide endorsement for any company.



OPTION 1:  Give it away!

The easiest way to dispose of fertilizer is to give it to someone that can use it. Even if the product is old it can still be used as a fertilizer. If the product was not stored properly and has become solid, dissolving the product with water or crushing will allow application to desired area. Simply ensure that the product is thinly and evenly distributed as possible at appropriate rates.

OPTION 2:  Deliver to Hazardous Household Waste Event

One additional option is to simply store the fertilizer until a Hazardous Household collection day is provided. Most events even allow collection of commercial fertilizer in relatively small amounts. The Coastal Environmental Partnership offers free Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) Collection events in Pamlico, Carteret, and Craven counties.

OPTION 3:  Pay a company to dispose of it.

The last option is to classify this as a hazardous waste. There are many companies that provide disposal of hazardous waste. Expect to pay a high fee for disposal that may vary by amount and type of fertilizer. Referral of friends, local business listing or internet searches will provide a lists of companies willing to provide this service.


Some fertilizers have herbicides or insecticides or fungicides embedded or mixed within the fertilizer. Since these products contain pesticides, they are treated equally as pesticides. Options for disposal are identical to pesticide disposal options previously discussed.