Everyone wants a healthy lawn, a beautiful, productive garden and attractive landscaping that adds to the beauty of their home. But having all of this can be costly, both to our wallets and our health.
Some of the most significantly poisonous products we buy are targeted at lawn and garden care. Many of these products can be extremely harmful if improperly disposed of when no longer wanted.
Pesticides can injure or potentially kill people by inhalation, ingestion and absorption through the skin and also threaten the environment. Therefore, care must be taken when disposing of these products. The best thing to do with unwanted pesticides and fertilizers is to use them up or give them to someone who can, perhaps a neighbor.
Lawn and garden chemicals should never be placed in the garbage or rinsed down the drain. Empty containers can go in the trash if they have been rinsed with water three times. (The rinsed water should be used in the same way that you would use the pesticide itself, not poured down the drain.) Note that weed killers and fertilizer/herbicide combinations such as weed and feed also are considered pesticides.
Pesticides that are still registered for use can be used up as directed. However, don't go on a spraying spree just to get rid of things in the garage. If you know that you will never use a pesticide again, take it to the Lawrence/Douglas County household hazardous waste collection event where it can be properly disposed of or made available for reuse. Some pesticides, such as DDT and penta, have been banned for consumer use.
These pesticides have been canceled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and should not be used by consumers: 2,4,5-T, Aldrin, Chlordane, Creosote, DDT, Dieldrin, Kepone, Lead Arsenate, Lindane (a few uses remain, such as lice shampoo), Mirex, Pentachlorophenal (``penta''), Silvex, Toxaphene.
If you have any products containing these ingredients in your home, you should take them to the next Household Hazardous Waste collection, which is 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 19 at the county public works yard, 711 E. 23rd. The final collection of the season is from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 17.
For more information about collection events and other materials accepted, call city's Waste Reduction and Recycling Division at 832-3030.