Both pesticides and insecticides can be hazardous substances and very dangerous, therefore it is important to know how to recycle them safely.
What are pesticides and insecticides?
Pesticides and insecticides are poisonous chemicals that are intended to kill pests and insects and although it is good that they poison and get rid of them they can also poison humans and animals, too. Thus, it is very important to keep these poisons out of the waste stream as broken bags and bottles can contaminate water and soil. Pesticides can be classed as anything used to kill weeds, slugs, fungicide sprays, animal repellents, hormone rooting powders, insecticides, plant growth regulators, lawn sand treatments, aquatic treatments, fly sprays and ant powder, patio cleaner, rat and mouse killer and cat repellent.
How do you recycle them?
It is important to know that pesticide and insecticide themselves can never be recycled, however, the containers can providing they are recycled properly otherwise it could be extremely hazardous to water systems as will be explained later. Pesticides can never be poured down the sink even if they are diluted due to the risk of water contamination. With empty concentrate containers (i.e they require dilution before using) the container should be rinsed three times, adding this to the final spray solution. The empty container can then be added to household waste. Empty ready to use containers that do not require concentration may just be put into normal household recycling waste. All other empty pesticide containers such as bags and cardboard boxes may be disposed of into the ordinary household waste. You should never burn Pesticide or insecticide containers under any circumstances and all containers should be empty before disposal, you should never put expired but filled containers into any waste or recycling unit.
What chemicals make pesticides up?
The seven chemicals that are inside of pesticides and insecticides are Carbamate and organophosphate, they are found in pesticide and insecticide respectively. The next chemical is Pyrethroid which helps to increase stability in the environment it is in, Sulfonylurea Herbicides, Biopesticides and Organophosphates. Pesticides are conducted with chemicals that are made up of over 100 elements such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphor,chlorine and sulfur along with metals and semi-metals such as zinc, mercury and arsenic.
Are there any negative effects that can come from using them?
The negative effects that pesticides can have if they get into water bodies are staggering. Cheaper pesticides can remain in soil and water for years and can cause all sorts of acute and chronic health issues, although these have been banned in developed countries, many developing countries are still using them today. There are many ways that pesticides can enter the soil or water, for example, excessive rain can cause quick transportation of chemicals contaminating soil, groundwater supplies and fresh water supplies over a large surface area. Once the damage has been done it is actually very hard to remove the pesticides from ground water and fresh water supplies, pesticides are mostly soluble due to them being diluted in water on the most part, and the slow movement of groundwater means that it could take years even decades to clean the water.
What about health effects?
The effects on health through this varies on the amount of exposure and contamination. Some pesticides may affect the nervous system, or irritate the skin or eyes, others maybe cancer-causing carcinogens the health risks are vast and varied as stated by the World Health Organisation “The toxicity of a pesticide depends on its function and other factors. For example, insecticides tend to be more toxic to humans than herbicides” (WHO). Therefore water contamination can range from a mile irritation to being lethal.
npic.orst.edu (national pesticide information centre)