JoAnne Skelly: What to do with old pesticides?

Fall is a good time to clean out the garage. A friend wondered how to dispose of a container of the insecticide malathion. An online malathion product label said: "Disposal: If empty: Do not reuse this container. Place in trash or offer for recycling if available. If partly filled: Call your local solid waste agency or 1-800-CLEANUP for disposal instructions. Never place unused product down any indoor or outdoor drain." Also, it's good to puncture empty containers so they can't be used for another purpose.

Insecticides aren't the only hazardous waste around a home. Herbicides (weed killers), paints, varnishes, solvents, cleaning products, sealers, batteries, waste oils and fuels are also hazardous wastes that require proper disposal.

Douglas Disposal Hazardous Waste Facility Services are available for free to all Douglas County residents by appointment only. They accept used motor oil, used car batteries, cleaners, detergents, pesticides, fertilizers, paints, sealers, solvents and gasoline. To make an appointment, please contact the office at 782-5713.

In addition, pesticides such as bug killers, rodent baits and weed killers can be disposed of through Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDOA). The service is free to homeowners. Call Jon Carpenter at 353-3715 and arrange to bring the unwanted products to NDOA. Certain materials, including oil, antifreeze, and fertilizers (including weed and feed type products) are not eligible for disposal at NDOA. Leave the pesticides in the original container with the product label attached.

There are several ways to dispose of household paint. First, remove the lids from the paint cans and let the contents dry to a solid form. If there is more than a half inch of paint, add kitty litter to absorb it. When the material is solidified, you can dispose of it in household trash. Or, you may pour the paint directly onto plastic tarps being careful not to spill on to the ground; let it harden, and then roll up the tarps and place in your household trash. Your local graffiti removal program may accept donations of neutral-colored paint.

Maintain our water quality, the health of the community and our environment by disposing of hazardous waste products appropriately.

• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at or 887-2252.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment