If you ask a gardener what’s that one thing they dread having in their garden, they’ll say it’s weeds.
If you see a weed in your garden, you’ll need to treat it with a chemical weed killer before it spreads all over your garden.
But one thing that you’ve got to be extremely cautious about is to ensure you’re disposing of the weed killer properly.
Why Is Proper Disposal Of Weed Killers Important?
Weed killers are poisonous, and they can do a lot more than just kill the weed. They’re hazardous to the environment and to people.
Risks for Humans
It can lead to serious health complications in case you get exposed to it.
Weed killer is a strong pesticide that can be acutely or chronically toxic for you, depending on the extent of exposure. It shouldn’t be ingested, inhaled, or allowed to come in direct contact with the skin.
In case you do end up getting exposed to weed killer, you can develop one or more of the following health problems:
- Allergic reactions
- Respiratory tract infection
- Irritation of the skin and eyes
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Death in severe cases
Risks for Environment
If you don’t dispose of weed killer properly, it may end up in water streams. Weed killers are extremely toxic and poisonous. If they end up in water streams, they can kill the plants and wildlife therein.
They can also leech into the ground and contaminate the groundwater. Most of the drinking water that’s available today is obtained from the groundwater.
Drinking groundwater that’s contaminated with weed killers can lead to serious health complications, some of which have been mentioned earlier.
Weed killers don’t just kill the weed. They aren’t selective killers. In fact, they’ll kill any plant or vegetation that they come in contact with.
In short, if weed killers aren’t disposed of properly, and you don’t ensure they are really discarded—not ending up in the environment in any way—everyone and everything is at risk!
How to Dispose of Weed Killer
Now that you know how critically important it is to dispose of weed killers properly, you certainly wouldn’t want to pour it all down the drain or leave it sitting in your garden shed.
There are strict regulations surrounding the disposal of pesticides to ensure people are cautious about their practices and don’t end up harming themselves or the environment.
Let’s go through some of the ways in which you can dispose of weed killers and ensure the safety and wellbeing of yourself and your environment.
Always Read the Label
All pesticides, including weed killers, come with instructions for disposal on the label. You should never pour unused weed killer down the drain or in your garden, or in a sewer.
Every state has different regulations pertaining to the correct disposal of weed killers. The label of the product will have all the disposal directions written down clearly for the users.
Many people burn or bury old pesticide containers. You can do that too if it’s written on the product label or if your local waste authority allows you to. Otherwise, this is a no-go option.
Disposing Of Unused Weed Killer
If you’ve got weed killer product remaining in the container after you’ve successfully gotten rid of the weed in your garden, you’ve got to make sure you’re properly disposing of the remaining chemical.
There are 2 ways in which you can ensure safe and proper disposal of unused weed killer.
You can get in touch with the household hazardous waste collection unit of your neighborhood and have them collect the leftover pesticide from your property.
You can also drop it off at their collection center yourself.
If you don’t have a hazardous waste collection unit near your house, you can always get in touch with professional waste disposal companies who have the experience and expertise in handling pesticides.
Professional waste disposal companies are well-versed with the state’s laws and regulations, and they ensure that the unused weed killer is disposed of the right way!
Disposing Of Unused Weed Killer Mixture
Most weed killer products need to be first diluted in water before application. These chemicals are very strong, and if applied directly, they can harm other plants in the surroundings.
We suggest you only withdraw the quantity of weed killer that you require. However, if you end up with an unused weed killer mixture, you should dispose of it the same way.
You can have a professional hazardous waste disposal company do the job for you, or you could have the household hazardous waste collection unit of your region take care of the unused mixture for you.
Disposing Of Empty Weed Killer Containers
It may come as a surprise to you, but empty containers of weed killers are as hazardous and dangerous for you and the environment as the weed killer chemical itself.
You can’t dump the empty containers in the trash along with the routine household waste.
You’ve got to shake empty bags clean to ensure no pesticide product remains behind before discarding the bags in the trash.
As for the empty containers and bottles, you’ve got to triple rinse them. It’s only after the containers are fully clean and no residue of weed killer remains that they can be recycled and reused.
After you’ve tripled-rinsed the empty weed killer containers and bottles, you can have your local authority responsible for recycling waste take care of them.
You can also get in touch with professional recyclers and waste disposal companies to take care of these thoroughly cleaned empty weed killer containers and bottles.
Triple Rinsing Of Empty Weed Containers
You can only discard empty weed killer containers after you’ve triple-rinsed them. As you can tell by the name, triple rinsing is the method of rinsing the containers thrice to ensure no chemical remains.
- Wear gloves and transfer the contents of the container (if any) into a sprayer.
- Fill 1/5th of the empty container with water.
- Put the cap back on and shake the container so that any contents that may be left behind in the container are mixed with water.
- Drain this water that you rinsed the container with into a sprayer.
- This completes the first rinse. Repeat the same procedure twice. Make sure to shake the container in different directions so that water touches all the areas inside the container and rinses it thoroughly.
Once you’ve rinsed the interior of the empty container thrice, rinse the container from the outside.
As for the diluted weed killer that you filled in the sprayer, you can use it on your garden weed as per the product instructions.
No matter how thoroughly you’ve cleaned the empty weed killer container, you should never reuse it for any other purpose. Contact your local household waste recycling unit and let them take care of it.
Is Pouring Weed Killers Down The Drain Illegal?
Yes. You can’t pour leftover weed killer product down your sink or flush. It’s an illegal practice.
The reason why it’s illegal is the fact that anything that’s poured down the drain becomes a part of the environment.
Considering how poisonous and toxic weed killers are, they shouldn’t be left out in the open where they can harm plants, animals, or humans.
Precautionary Measures for Handling Weed Killers
As we’ve already mentioned earlier, weed killers are highly toxic and poisonous chemicals that shouldn’t be inhaled, ingested, or allowed to come in contact with the skin.
For this reason, you’ve got to follow certain precautionary measures when handling weed killers.
Whether you’re spraying weed killer in your garden or working on its disposal, you’ve got to be cautious at all times.
Some important precautionary measures when handling weed killers are:
- Wear rubber gloves and a mask to avoid inhalation or direct skin contact with the chemical.
- Don’t make weed killer mixture in an enclosed area where the fumes may build up and you may end up inhaling the chemical.
- Don’t spray weed killer when the weather is windy. Wind can carry the droplets of weed killer towards other plants and to the surroundings where other people and animals might inhale them.
- When you’re washing the empty weed killer containers, make sure you’re wearing coveralls. This would protect you from harming yourself in case the leftover product spills during washing.
- Don’t burn the empty weed killer container. While you may assume that you’re getting rid of the containers the right way, you’re actually allowing the fumes saturated with the weed killer vapors to spread all over your surroundings.
- In case some product spills directly on your skin, wash the affected area with water and detergent to ensure it’s cleaned thoroughly. Weed killers are slightly acidic, and the alkaline detergent will neutralize them and make them neutral.
- Don’t smoke when handling weed killers. There’s a risk of fire.
- Always label the empty weed killer containers that you’ve washed, so no one mistakenly uses the containers for any other purpose.
The only reason weed killers can’t be disposed of like any other gardening product is the fact that they’re extremely toxic and pose a serious threat to the environment and people.
You better be safe than sorry, right?
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