- Pesticides are toxic chemicals and should always be disposed of safely.
- Never pour unused pesticides outdoors or down storm drains, and do not pour pesticides down indoor drains such as sinks, toilets, and showers.
- Take unused pesticides to a Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste drop-off location for disposal.
- Schedule a free drop-off appointment at a location near you by calling (408) 299-7300.
How to Prevent Pollution from Garden & Yard Chemicals
- Garden and yard chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers wash off during storm or through excess irrigation water and flow into storm drains, streams, and the Bay without treatment, affecting the health of fish, wildlife, and people.
- Reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers by adopting holistic approach towards sustainable gardening.
- Practice Integrated Pest Management. It integrates biological, physical, and least-toxic chemical pest prevention and control methods. It uses fewer chemicals and often saves money.
To learn more about IPM and how to manage specific pests or plants, visit the University of California. IPM has five fields of control:
- Habitat modification: When you have continued ant problem, control the source of food and water for ants.
- Management or Cultural Practices: For continued weed problems in your lawn, mow often but mow high.
- Physical Control or Exclusion: Caulk holes on walls to keep mice away.
- Biological Control: Use beneficial ladybugs that eat aphids off your roses.
- Chemical Control: When none of the above has worked and the pest becomes intolerable, use the least toxic chemicals available.
Sustainable Gardening Tips
Reduce pesticide use while implementing money-saving soil and water conservation practices, too? Be sure to landscape and garden the bay-Friendly way. Visit South Bay Green Gardens and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency for free landscaping workshops.
- Create healthy soil
- Choose the right plant
- Water wisely
- Use garden chemicals wisely
- Slow the flow of rainwater
Request IPM Services from Your Pest Management Company
Ask if their practitioners follow IPM techniques. You can find IPM service providers in the Bay Area through EcoWise, the Bio-Integral Resource Center, or through the Santa Clara Valley Green Gardeners.
Purchase Non-toxic or Less-Toxic Products
Some products, due to their active ingredient or method of application, are nontoxic or have a lesser chance of becoming water pollution or coming in to contact with people and pets. An easy-to-use guide for nontoxic or less-toxic products can be found at Our Water Our World.
Pesticides and Water Quality
Pesticides used to control pests in and around buildings and homes as well as in lawns and gardens are washed away by rainwater and irrigation water runoff, and end up flowing into the storm drains, creeks, and the bay.
Even very small amounts of pesticides can be toxic to aquatic life and can impact our drinking water supplies. Urban sources of pesticides are threats to human health and the health of our watershed.
- South Bay Green Gardens for plant lists, free residential workshops, tips on mulch, compost, and more.
- Santa Clara Valley Master Gardener Program, University of California Extension Services
- Our Water Our World for tips on finding non-toxic or least-toxic products.
- Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Program
- City of San José Integrated Pest Management Best Management Practices and Standard Operating Procedures