Dispose of chemicals safely says RSPB

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Crop Protection Association have joined forces to advise gardeners on the safe use and disposal of chemicals this spring.

Gardens can be turned into wildlife havens by growing a wide variety of plants

Gardens can be turned into wildlife havens by growing a wide variety of plants

Sheds and cupboards are full of tins and pots of chemicals which, if not disposed of or used correctly can harm wildlife.

The two organisations are issuing key guidance in a new leaflet to be distributed in many garden centres around the UK, and online.

Darren Moorcroft from the RSPB said:  “Although natural pest control is always best, the RSPB knows that from time to time people need to turn to garden care chemicals and they may take one look at the dusty, faded bottle of chemical and be tempted to throw it in the bin. But it’s essential that this is done properly, or it could harm wildlife.”.

Safe garden chemical use

  • Do not buy more than you need
  • Read the label and use according to instructions
  • Check for any restrictions on use – ie near ponds, fish tanks etc
  • Use appropriate equipment to apply the chemical
  • Accurately measure the product. Do not make up more than you need
  • Only use on the area/plants where you identify a problem that needs tackling
  • Spray early morning or late evening when bees and other insects are less active
  • Spray in calm conditions, avoid spraying in strong sunshine and before or just after rain
  • Consider Ready to Use products which can be reused until empty and disposed of in household waste

Ways to ensure safe garden chemical disposal:

  • Use up surplus spray solution by applying on the areas covered by the approved use
  • Never dispose of unwanted product, diluted product or rinsings in household drains or ditches
  • Rinse empty containers three times and use up rinsings by applying to the area you are treating. Containers can then be safely disposed of in household waste
  • Dispose of unused product in its container at a registered household waste site


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