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Disposing of lawn and garden chemicals

Each different type of lawn and garden chemical poses its own particular disposal problem. Fertilizers are often stored year after year with little fear of problems.

However, to be stored safely, they should be kept locked in a cool, dry place, in their original, labeled container. Many fertilizers can be a fire and explosion hazard, as well as being a threat to our groundwater supply.

These rules hold for pesticides also, but there are other points to consider when dealing with these chemicals. Common sense tells us that extreme care must be taken not only in their use, but in their storage and disposal as well. It cannot be over-emphasized that most pesticides are poisonous and should be kept locked up and out of reach of children, pets, and others! Storage near food supplies, in a tool shed or well house, or near a living area could have disastrous effects.

The end of the lawn and garden season is the time to clean out your storage space and make sure chemicals that are unused are still in good condition. Check labels and containers for damage. Only in extreme cases should you transfer a chemical from its original container into another container for storage or use.

Instead, place the original container in a plastic bag and seal it up until needed. If a leaking container forces you to transfer contents to another container, be sure to secure the label to the new container for future use. Check on local disposal regulations such as landfill requirements. Never pour a pesticide or fertilizer down the drain or anywhere else it may contaminate the water supply!

Check with neighbors or gardening friends before purchasing chemicals to see about the possibility of sharing chemicals. Your insect or weed problems may be very similar to theirs. Always buy the smallest size needed, to minimize the possibility of having to store chemicals. If you have unopened chemicals, try to return them to the place of purchase.

Web posted on Thursday, December 25, 2008

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