If you’re like me, then you probably have a pile of old chemical containers in your garage or shed that you’ve stored for years. Maybe you weren’t sure how to get rid of the partially used products or it could be that as more studies and reports are published, you’re realizing just how toxic these chemicals really are to you and your family.
At Periscope Group, we’ve been getting a lot of questions concerning how to dispose of Roundup and other hazardous pesticides and herbicides. Here’s how to safely take care of this common problem:
Never Dump Household Chemicals Down the Drain
Okay, this may seem obvious, but we just want to cover all of our bases. After all, if you have just a bit of product left at the bottom of the container, what harm can it really do? Isn’t it much easier to dilute it with water and pour it down the drain rather than looking for where to properly dispose of it?
While it may be the simple solution, it can cause a variety of hazards. When water flows down your drain, it travels through your pipes to a water treatment plant. Hazardous materials can deteriorate piping and possibly put the health and safety of both workers and the general public at risk. For example, mixing common household cleaners like bleach and vinegar will create toxic fumes. The same dangerous reactions can happen when you dump a cocktail of hazardous liquids into the pipes.
Additionally, these pollutants could hinder the filtration process by killing microorganisms and certain treatment plants won’t effectively be able to filter out all of the toxins that are contaminating the water.
Another obvious point is to never pour these products down the storm drain. They’ll only travel to the streams, rivers, groundwater, lakes, and other bodies of water to harm wildlife, ecosystems, and contaminate the water you use to bathe in, cook with, and drink.
… And Forget About Tossing It In the Trash
Again, your chemicals could mix with someone else’s and create toxic fumes. The chemicals can also seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater which then affects can affect our drinking water supply, wildlife, and/or the environment.
So Where Can I Get Rid of Hazardous Chemicals?
When preparing to get rid of your pesticides and other dangerous chemicals, there are a few things to do, first:
- Make sure the containers aren’t cracked, the lids are sealed tightly, and that they are being stored according to the label (like in a cool, well-vented area away from anything that could ignite the fumes or product). If your containers are corroded, call your hazardous materials center or fire department for instructions on how to safely manage these chemicals.
- Never combine the chemicals together in one container and always keep them in their original containers.
- Call your city offices or waste management department to find out how to safely dispose of your chemicals. Sometimes they have a yearly pick-up and other towns have local drop-off centers. Here’s an example of what you might find:
- Remember to transport your chemicals safely if you are going to a drop off center. Consider lining a cardboard box with a large garbage bag to prevent spills, leakage, or dirt from messing up your car. Additionally, once your car is loaded, go directly to the drop off center and make sure your car is well-ventilated.
And that’s it! That’s one big item off of your to-do list. Now you can feel better about protecting your family, yourself, and the environment.