How to Safely Dispose of Fertilizers

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Fertilizers help your plants to grow, so it's easy to think of them as garden friends. However, not every fertilizer is good for the environment. Depending on the type of fertilizer you have and the ingredients it contains, you may need to dispose of leftovers at a household hazardous waste site.

Ingredients Dictate Disposal

By definition, a fertilizer is any substance that, when applied to plants, increases their growth. Fertilizers range from natural, like coffee grounds, to chemical, including products containing nitrogen and phosphate. If you can't use up or give away the remainder of your fertilizer, the ingredients dictate the type of disposal required.

Organic Is Easy

It is easy to dispose of organic, natural substances used as fertilizer because these products break down in soil without causing problems. Toss the remainder of organic fertilizer products on the compost pile or in your garbage as long as the fertilizer does not contain nitrogen or phosphorus.

Chemical Requires Care

If the fertilizer contains nitrogen, it can convert to nitrate, a product you must keep away from your well or groundwater. Similarly, products containing phosphorus are regulated in some states and require careful disposal. Take remainders of these products, as well as any fertilizers that include pesticides, to the nearest household hazardous waste disposal site.

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