By ecoRI News staff
Synthetic fertilizers and weed killers like those marketed by Scotts and Miracle-Gro are considered hazardous waste as soon as they’re purchased. High concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous as well as pesticides and herbicides render them toxic, even in small quantities.
To get rid of old chemical fertilizers bring them to the Eco-Depot at the Central Landfill in Johnston. Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation also sponsors household hazardous waste drop-off days. For a date in your area, click here.
It’s important to never pour fertilizer down a sink or down a storm drain. Sewage treatment facilities can't treat toxic chemicals and many storm drains flow directly into Narragansett Bay or other natural ecosystems.
If you want to make the switch to organic fertilizers and potting soil, try buying them from an organic garden center. Compost and mulch are also great for you lawn and garden. Lime is a safe additive for you lawn, as well.
Coffee grounds (nitrogen and phosphorus), wood ash (potassium) and diluted vinegar also can be added directly to plants, shrubs, trees and lawns.
Many household cleaners are also toxic and poisonous. If the labels say “caution,” “hazardous,” “poison,” “flammable” or “danger” they, too, should be brought to the Eco-Depot. Many safe cleaners can be made at home using baking soda, vinegar and a spray bottle. Click here for a list of green cleaning recipes.