Lawn fertilizer is a combination of chemicals that may sometimes pose environmental risks, especially if it is not disposed of properly. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that work to keep your lawn looking healthy year-round.
While it’s true that chemical fertilizer doesn’t go bad, it can be harmful if it’s not disposed of properly. Old fertilizer can seep into groundwater, damage plant or animal life, and pose a risk to children and pets.
Read on to understand how to dispose of old lawn fertilizer responsibly.
- How to Dispose of Old Lawn Fertilizer
- 1. Donate Old Fertilizer to a Garden Club
- 2. Contact a Waste Management Company
- 3. Set the Fertilizer Outside for Pickup by Waste Management
- 4. Bring the Fertilizer to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day
- 5. Return it to the Retailer
- How to Dispose of Wet Fertilizer
- How to Dispose of Organic Fertilizer
- Where to Dispose of Old Fertilizer
- How to Dispose of Old Lawn Fertilizer (FAQs)
- Does fertilizer go bad?
- Does fertilizer go bad if wet?
- Can you burn old fertilizer?
How to Dispose of Old Lawn Fertilizer
Lack of ideal storage conditions is often the reason why people want to dispose of fertilizer. It’s not that the fertilizer itself has gone bad. You likely exposed the product to temperatures or moisture that cause it to become hazardous to the environment or unsightly to the landscape.
There are several options for disposing of your old lawn fertilizer.
1. Donate Old Fertilizer to a Garden Club
If you have a lot of fertilizer on hand, an option is to donate the product to a garden club. Garden clubs often have projects where they use chemical fertilizers to help their community. It’s great for them to have donations if their local store doesn’t carry the product.
Before you donate the fertilizer, though, make sure that it is still safe to use. If you have been storing old fertilizer for some time and there are noticeable changes in the color or consistency of the product, then this is a sign that it has gone bad and shouldn’t be used as a donation.
A reaction with other chemicals can often cause a color change in the fertilizer. If you store your fertilizer where there are chemicals such as cleaning supplies, bleach, or gasoline, then they may have reacted with each other and created an entirely different substance.
2. Contact a Waste Management Company
When dealing with large quantities of fertilizers, you might have to rely on a waste management company. Waste management companies have the necessary skills to dispose of old fertilizers properly. They can also advise on the best protocol for your specific type of product.
If none are within reach, you can check with your local community center to see if they have a hazardous waste disposal policy.
Ask about any costs associated with disposing of old fertilizers or other chemicals in this way, and find out whether there are any restrictions on what types of products they will take.
3. Set the Fertilizer Outside for Pickup by Waste Management
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of finding a waste management company, there is another option. You can set out your old fertilizer with your regular garbage for curbside collection. Pack the fertilizer in a sturdy plastic bag to avoid an accidental spill.
The municipality will know how to handle it if they don’t collect these products regularly. However, keep in mind that there are still some concerns. The fertilizer may contain hazardous chemicals that shouldn’t mix with regular waste.
Check out this yellow hazardous waste bag:
Sellstrom Hazardous Waste Bag with Ties
4. Bring the Fertilizer to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day
At least once a year, your municipality or county will provide a collection day for hazardous chemicals and other types of waste that regular garbage collection cannot safely process.
If you live in an area where this is uncommon, then contact your local community center and ask about the availability of this service. If you can’t find a date during the year, try contacting your local waste management company.
5. Return it to the Retailer
Retailers selling fertilizer are required by law to have proper disposal procedures in place. Returning the old fertilizer to the store where you purchased it will ensure proper disposal.
Ensure the fertilizer is in its original container or other containers approved by the Retailer. Avoid mixing different products to avoid hazardous reactions. Leave any caps off of old containers so that there is no chance of an accidental spill while transporting it back to the store.
How to Dispose of Wet Fertilizer
The condition of your fertilizer can determine the best method of disposal. If it’s wet and no longer usable, you will need to dispose of it differently than if it was dry and still good.
Wet fertilizer may require a specific disposal method, including disposal by a waste management company.
The best way to dispose of wet fertilizer is to bring it to a household hazardous waste collection day in a sturdy plastic bag.
Other options include contacting a waste management company or your local community center. On the collection day, double bag the fertilizer and bring it to a drop-off area.
How to Dispose of Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizer contains biodegradable materials. This means they can naturally break down into their previous state. If your old fertilizer falls into this category, you can safely compost it or leave it on your lawn as mulch.
However, sometimes you may have no use for your old organic fertilizer. In such cases, donating or selling organic fertilizer is the best course of action.
Other options include:
Trash disposal if no hazardous chemicals are present
Disposal by a waste management company if there are dangerous chemicals present
Where to Dispose of Old Fertilizer
Local community centers and waste management companies will accept old fertilizers for disposal. There may be a fee associated with this, so ask about costs and any restrictions on what types of products they will take before you haul your fertilizer to them.
If you don’t want the hassle of finding a drop-off location, set it with your regular trash for curbside collection. Double bag the material, and remember to keep any caps off, so there is no chance of spillage.
Keep in mind that because fertilizers are considered hazardous waste, they shouldn’t mix with regular garbage.
How to Dispose of Old Lawn Fertilizer (FAQs)
Does fertilizer go bad?
Fertilizer doesn’t go bad as such, as long as you maintain proper storage conditions. If you store it in a cool, dry place, the shelf life will be indefinite. Chemicals don’t deteriorate or decompose.
However, prolonged exposure to heat may cause the fertilizer pellets to break down slowly over time. Areas with high moisture and humidity will cause the fertilizer to become wet and clump together.
Does fertilizer go bad if wet?
Wet fertilizer is not effective. Water makes the granules clamp together, making them hard to spread when using the fertilizer. Water also causes the nutrients to leach out from the storage container.
If you’re experiencing wet fertilizer, either bring it back to the shop where you got it or dispose of it with your garbage.
Can you burn old fertilizer?
It’s not advisable to burn chemical fertilizers because the fumes are dangerous. The chemical composition of fertilizers makes them combustible and prone to spark when exposed to heat.
If you burn fertilizer, take great care so that your surroundings are not affected by the chemicals.
Understanding how to dispose of old lawn fertilizer can help you maintain a safe environment around the house. Easy disposal options will depend on how much attention you pay to your lawn fertilizer needs.
Store your fertilizer in a cool, dry place to avoid chemical reactions that may cause it to clump.
If you’re finished with the fertilizer, contact your local community center or waste management company to schedule an appointment for chemical disposal.
Don’t try to burn old lawn fertilizer because the fumes are not safe for inhalation. There are also other disposal methods depending on the type of fertilizer.