Household hazardous waste requires disposal care

Spring-cleaning is upon us. For gardeners, that may mean getting rid of old weedkillers, insecticides, rodent baits or other pesticides sitting in a garage, basement or storage area. Did you know these items are hazardous household waste?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be 'household hazardous waste.' Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides, that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them."

What are the proper disposal methods? Most labels will provide information on how to dispose of empty containers, but what are you to do if a container is not empty?

Ideally, you should buy only as much pesticide as you need for the job at hand. However, if that is not the case, the best way to dispose of pesticides is to use them up according to the label directions.

If you have too much product for your landscape or yard, offer to help out your neighbors with their weed, insect or plant disease problems. If you still have leftover products, take them to the household hazardous waste program in your area. It's always wise to call first, as most sites require appointments.

Never, under any conditions, dump these products down the sink, toilet, sewer or storm drain. The storm drains drain to the river without any wastewater processing and pesticides can kill plants, birds, fish and other aquatic life. Don't put pesticides down the sewer because they can interfere with the wastewater treatment process and pollute waterways.

In addition, when a container is empty, do not reuse it. Do not puncture or incinerate containers that are pressurized. Wrap any empty containers, pressurized or not, in newspaper and place them in the trash, unless the labels specify other methods of disposal.

Here are some contacts for disposing of household hazardous waste disposal:

• If you are a Carson City resident, schedule an appointment for the city's free Friday afternoon household hazardous waste disposal program by calling 887-2355, ext. 1049.

• In Douglas County, the Douglas Transfer Station on Pinenut Road in Gardnerville has free household hazardous waste disposal by appointment on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Call 782-5713 the day before to schedule an appointment.

• The Nevada Department of Agriculture in Reno accepts pesticides by appointment. Call 688-1182, ext. 276.

Take care of our environment and drinking water. Dispose of your household hazardous waste appropriately.

For more information on gardening, contact me, 887-2252 or skellyj@unce.unr.edu, or your local University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office.

• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City / Storey County Extension Educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

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