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Safe Disposal of Garden Chemicals

A practical guide from the Crop Protection Association

  • Protect your environment, safeguard our environment
  • Gardening contributes to the biodiversity found in your garden.
  • Your actions influence our environment.

USE PESTICIDES SAFELY. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. NEVER DISPOSE OF UNWANTED PRODUCT IN DRAINS, SINKS, LAVATORIES, WATERCOURSES OR DITCHES.

When stored, used and disposed of safely chemical products pose little risk to people or the wider environment. This document gives advice to gardeners on how to reduce the need for disposal and how to do it safely when the need occurs.

Disposal of Unwanted Product

THE BEST WAY TO MINIMISE DISPOSAL OF GARDEN CARE CHEMICAL PRODUCT IS TO USE IT IN THE GARDEN AS RECOMMENDED ON THE LABEL.

However from time to time, unwanted product will be produced and incorrect disposal can lead to a risk of pollution to ground and surface waters and possibly have an adverse impact on the wildlife around us all.

Garden care chemical products requiring disposal generally come from three sources:

  1. Surplus spray solution after treating a weed, pest or disease problem in the garden.
  2. Old or unwanted product that has been stored in the garden shed and is now not required.
  3. Garden care chemical products that have had their official approval for use withdrawn
    (information about revoked garden products can be found on our website www.garden-care.org.uk and at www.pesticides.gov.uk).

Avoiding the need for disposal

BEFORE USING A GARDEN CARE PRODUCT ALWAYS ASK THE QUESTION - do I need to use a garden care chemical product? Some garden problems may be resolved using cultural or integrated approaches that do not require the use of garden care chemical products.

  • Check what garden care chemicals you already have before buying any new product. Do not stockpile old product.
  • Do not buy more then you need for the job. Only buying what is required avoids unnecessary storage and keeps your home tidy.
  • Consider Ready-to-Use (RTU) products where available:
    • RTUs are ready-mixed and avoid any contact with the chemical concentrate.
    • They can be stored after partial use and re-used until empty, thus avoiding waste.
    • Always use a suitable ready-to-use product if you are only treating a small area.
  • When diluting a concentrated product always read the label carefully and aim to make up slightly too little of the spray solution rather than too much.
  • Always store product safely and aim to use up within 2 years of purchase to ensure effectiveness.

I have surplus spray solution to get rid of - what can I do?

Never store surplus diluted spray solution between jobs. Products diluted with water are not always stable after storage. They can lose their effectiveness and become harmful to plants. Diluted products stored in unlabelled containers can pose a real danger to children and pets.

Instead, use up the surplus diluted product by applying on areas covered by the approved use given on the product label. Ensure the recommended application rate of the product is not exceeded.

Do not apply surplus product onto hard surfaces where it can be washed into drains and consider any risk to neighbouring property and wildlife habits. Note any precautions on the label relevant to pets and wildlife.

  • Do not dispose of near ponds, streams, marshy areas, ditches or wildlife habitats.
  • When using residual (long lasting) weedkiller products, note that there may be a lengthy period of time when re-sowing or planting is not advisible. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.
  • If in doubt contact your local waste disposal site for advice on disposal through your local waste disposal centre.

IT IS ILLEGAL to dispose of dilute surplus spray solution down drains, sinks or lavatories. Even a small amount of product disposed in this way can find its way into rivers and other surface waters.

I have revoked or other unwanted garden care chemical products to get rid of. What shall I do?

These products need to be disposed of through the local waste disposal authority (County Council or Unitary Council).

Your Local Council can advise you which household waste sites take unwanted Garden care chemical products. Your Local Council will also advise you of any special arrangements for collection and disposal of hazardous household waste.

  • Ensure that containers are clearly labelled to assist the waste disposal operator.
  • Never mix different products together they may react.
  • Ensure waste product for transportation to the household waste site is kept in the original container. Check the container can be properly sealed for safe transport.
  • Further advice can be obtained from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

NEVER DISPOSE OF CHEMICAL CONCENTRATE IN THE HOUSEHOLD WASTE OR DOWN THE HOUSEHOLD DRAINAGE SYSTEM.

What about empty containers?

Containers that have held concentrated product (i.e. requiring dilution for use) properly rinsed, can be placed in household waste. The container should be rinsed three times adding the washings to the final spray solution.

Empty Ready-to-Use trigger sprayers can often be disposed directly into the household waste - Read the product label to check.

Improper disposal of containers can be a hazard to pets, wildlife and the environment.

NOTE: Garden care chemical product containers are not suitable for recycling.

ALWAYS THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WILL STORE, USE AND DISPOSE OF GARDEN CARE CHEMICAL PRODUCTS SAFELY. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE PESTICIDES SAFELY

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