Fertilizers

Fertilizers aren’t recyclable, but their containers often are – just make sure they are properly cleaned before you toss them in the bin or take them to a collection site. The best option for disposing of fertilizers is to call your local household hazardous waste (HHW) facility for disposal locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do fertilizers contain pesticides?

Sometime yes, sometimes no. If you want to follow a greener route, there are several organic plant, animal or mineral-based fertilizers on the market that better hold water and air than synthetic fertilizers and also make nutrients more readily available in the soil. Just be aware that the word “organic” is not regulated the same way for fertilizers as it is for foods.

Fertilizers with pesticides are often labeled “pre-emergent,” “weed preventer,” “insect control,” or “disease control,” to name a few. Chemical fertilizers typically contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds that perform a variety of functions. For detailed fertilization tips for every crop in your garden, check out this guide from the Oregon State University Extension, or consult another extension service in your area.

Can empty, plastic fertilizer containers be recycled?

Properly disposing of both fertilizers and their containers is important.

Fertilizers promote algae growth in our waterways. When algae decompose, the oxygen level in the water is depleted, harming aquatic life. The best option for disposing of fertilizers, and their containers, is to call your local household hazardous waste (HHW) facility for disposal locations. Drop-off locations can also be found by jumping to the recycling locator.

For the most part, pesticide containers are recyclable, though they often have to go through special recycling treatments.

Can old fertilizer containers be thrown in the trash?

It depends on your local solid waste provider. You most definitely don’t want to flush them down the toilet or rinse them down the sink drain.

If you are authorized to put them in your regular trash, make sure you don’t mix fertilizers with any other contents and that containers are properly sealed. The best bet is to take them to your local HHW collection facility, if they accept them.

Are fertilizers recyclable or reusable?

Fertilizers aren’t recyclable, but their containers often are. The best option for disposing of fertilizers is to call your local household hazardous waste (HHW) facility for disposal locations. When disposing of any item considered hazardous, whether that be toxic, ignitable, corrosive or reactive, an HHW facility must follow local, state and federal regulations.

The Environmental Protection agency mostly regulates HHW through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Dive in via EPA.gov.

Do fertilizers expire?

The jury’s out on this one. The best bet is to check the box or bag, but some say those dates aren’t always included. Others say it depends on whether it is liquid or dry fertilizer.

Your best bet is to monitor the results. If the fertilizer doesn’t seem to be working, troubleshoot when you bought it and see how long it’s been. Most experts agree that it should last anywhere from one to four years.

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