Pesticide Storage And Disposal

Pesticide Storage And Disposal

Part of Ep. 705 Fall Color in the Garden

Learn how to properly handle pesticides.  Karen Delahaut explains the correct way to store and dispose of  pesticides used in the garden and in the home.

Premiere date: Oct 30, 1999

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
At the end of the growing season, I like to bring all my pesticides in from the garage. For one thing, to store them safely so they don't freeze out there over the winter. Pesticides in general will need some special treatment. And to help teach me how to do that is Karen Delahaut. She's with the integrated pest management program at the university of Wisconsin-extension. Karen, I think I got everything that was out there.

Karen:
Well, Shelley, you may have everything that was in your garage. But while you were out there I was going through the cabinet under your kitchen sink and you missed a few pesticides.

Shelley:
Pesticides in my kitchen?

Karen:
Yes, pesticides in your kitchen. Pesticide, you have to remember, is anything that kills another organism. And right here we've got anti-bacterial which is going to kill bacteria.

Shelley:
Okay. Now I think of things that kills weeds, so you're saying--

Karen:
As a gardener, we kind of have a one track mind, we think of things that kill weeds, insects and plant diseases. But inside the house, there are other products like your bleach that's going to kill mildew in the shower or algae, perhaps, in your swimming pool.

Shelley:
Okay, then all of these have to be treated specially. Is there a way, when in doubt, one can know for certain we're dealing with a pesticide?

Karen:
Yes. All pesticides have an EPA registration number on the label. It might be kind of small, but if you look you're going to find it on just about every pesticide you might have.

Shelley:
So, look for that.

Karen:
Look for that, except there are a couple of exceptions.

Shelley:
It figures.

Karen:
The flea and tick collar that you've got on your dog.

Shelley:
That's a pesticide?

Karen:
Yes, it's killing fleas, so it has a pesticide in it. You're not going to see an EPA number on this. But if you look at the package it came in, you'll find an EPA number on that.

Shelley:
Any other exceptions then?

Karen:
Yes, another exception is the pressure treated lumber that you've got around some of your garden beds outside. Pressure treated lumber is treated with pesticides so insects can't eat at it and so wood-rotting fungus can't deteriorate it earlier than it should.

Shelley:
Now, there are some special rules for handling pesticides, like not letting them freeze in the garage.

Karen:
Yes. One of the foremost rules, whenever handling pesticides, is keep them out of the reach of children and keep them in their original container.

Shelley:
So, you don't like this.

Karen:
No, I don't like that. But this appears to be something that you're actually using. As long as you're going to be using it up and not keeping it sitting--

Shelley:
And I know what it is.

Karen:
Yes, you know what it is. Ideally, we'd like to have you store them in upper cabinets. However, if you can't store them up high, if you're going to keep your kitchen chemicals under the sink, and you have a small child at home, make sure that you use one of these childproof locks so that they can't get into it.

Shelley:
So, that's something, again, we need to think of working out in the garage. A lot of this stuff is probably more accessible than we realize.

Karen:
Yes. And one of the other things you probably haven't thought of as a pesticide is some of the treated seed. This sweet corn has been treated with a fungicide, so the seed doesn't rot once you plant it in the soil.

Shelley:
So, it kills fungus.

Karen:
It's going to kill fungus. You probably have that just sitting on the garden bench in the garage.

Shelley:
I actually have it stored in the refrigerator with my other seeds.

Karen:
No, you don't want to store it with your other seeds, not it if has been treated with a fungicide. Store it in a container that's not easily tampered with and keep it with your pesticides. Don't keep it with your other seeds.

Shelley:
And the scary thing about this is it kind of looks like candy.

Karen:
Yes, that's one of the reasons why you're going to want to store it properly.

Shelley:
And obviously, another storage tip is try to keep them in their original container.

Karen:
Definitely keep them in their original container. One of the key ways that pesticides poison small children is when you store them in another container, something that looks like a food container.

Shelley:
Now like I mentioned, I know this one freezes, can we get more information on what to do with these if we're in doubt?

Karen:
Yes. All the pesticides will tell you how to store it. There's going to be a section on the label, on the container that tells you what kinds of conditions it needs. Bringing it in over the winter is a good idea. Don't store them too close to your furnace or if you have a gas water heater, some of them may be flammable as well.

Shelley:
Check the label.

Karen:
It's all going to be on the label.

Shelley:
All right. It's the end of the season, I'm not going to be doing anymore with these, how do i get rid of them?

Karen:
Well, the best way to get rid of them is to use them on what they're supposed to be used on. This safer soap for example, go out, if you've got aphid problems either outside or on houseplants, use it up that way. If you can't use it up, perhaps your neighbor can use it. If the neighbor can't use it, then take it to a clean-sweep site, and your county extension office can tell you where and when those are.

Shelley:
And those are throughout Wisconsin.

Karen:
Yes.

Shelley:
Now here's a dilemma. I think-- the label fell off-- I think it's weed killer.

Karen:
That is a dilemma. You can't really assume that it's weed killer because it may have something else in there. So you don't really know where you can use it to get rid of it. The best thing in this case is to put it in a labeled container that you don't what it is, but you know it's a pesticide, and take it to that clean sweep site and tell them what your dilemma is.

Shelley:
And in the future, mix smaller quantities so I don't have any leftover.

Karen:
Yes, small quantities not only in mixing but also in buying. Get the small container, it may be less expensive to buy a larger container, but then you're going to have some product that you might not know what to do with.

Shelley:
Okay, you know, I've used it all up wisely, now I've got an empty container.

Karen:
Okay, empty containers. The best way to handle empty containers is rinse the container out three times and pour that rinse water into the sprayer before you use it.

Shelley:
So, I'm not dumping it on the ground or dumping it down the sink?

Karen:
No, never dump it on the ground, down the sink or in the storm sewer, because that's going to get in your water supply and you're going to end up drinking these pesticides.

Shelley:
Okay, so once we've got that empty, rinsed container, a lot of these have recycling numbers on them.

Karen:
We recommend that you don't recycle or you don't burn containers. It's best to wrap them in newspaper and put them in the trash. This way it keeps children, pets and your trash handlers safe from any residues that still might be on that container.

Shelley:
So, do I have enough to handle them safely now?

Karen:
Yes I think so.

Shelley:
Okay thanks, Karen. And for more information, the University of Wisconsin-Extension has published a whole series on pesticides. Ask your local county extension agent for these brochures.

EPISODE SEGMENTS+

Funding for The Wisconsin Gardener is provided, in part, by The Wisconsin Master Gardener Association.