Toxic Reminders of Summer

By Dennis Hinkamp

As you bid a fond farewell to the joys of summer--weed and pest abatement, painting, paint stripping, weatherproofing, oil changing and rust removal--be careful where you put the leftovers.

Although most of us try to avoid toxic chemicals, lawn and household maintenance often involves some pretty potent stuff. Containers, whether empty or partially full, need to be disposed of carefully.

According to Dr. Howard Deer, Extension toxicologist at Utah State University, DO NOT pour leftover pesticides or herbicides down the drain, into water or onto ground. Also, DO NOT burn or discard them in desolate areas.

What you should do with these containers:

* Most empty glass, metal or plastic pesticide and herbicide containers should be triple rinsed. That is, triple rinse them on their last use as you pour them into your garden spray can. Then discard them with your regular trash destined for the landfill or follow any special directions for disposal given on the products' labels.

* Used motor oil disposal varies from city to city, but some automotive parts stores and service stations are acting as recycling collection centers. City landfills generally have a used oil collection tanks. Since this is done as a service, you may have to show your proof of residency before the landfill operator will take your used oil.

* Paint: If you don't plan to ever use it again, take off the lid and let it evaporate in a well ventilated area. When it is reduced to a solid it can safely be disposed of with the rest of your trash. Better yet, save it for a community hazardous waste collection day or give it someone who can use it.

* Household cleaning products: The entire contents of most of these is used before they are disposed of. Still, if you have specific questions or doubts about proper disposal, call your local health department.

* Whenever in doubt consider waiting for a community hazardous waste collection day. Many counties are also beginning to have specific collection days for hazardous farm waste.


For more information, contact your local USU County Extension office.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 9 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Robert L. Gilliland, Vice-President and Director, Cooperative Extension Service, Utah State University, Logan, Utah. (EP/09-98/DF)