Feature

Give garage nasties the boot

garage clean-up

All sorts of toxic products lurk in your garage. Disposing of them safely is important for the environment.

Credit: Louise Lister

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Drain cleaner

Some drain cleaner brands contain solvents that will cause persistent pollution. The worst chemicals are ones that contain chlorine, such as ortho-dichlorobenzene, which are toxic to marine ecosystems.

How to dispose: Follow the hazardous waste tips.

Next time: Try some home remedies to unblock your sink such as a handful of bicarbonate of soda followed by a splash of vinegar. If you have a bokashi compost system, pour neat bokashi liquid into drains to prevent algae build-up, or use a commercial preparation like Actizyme pellets.

Snail/slug killer

The brightly coloured pellets containing metaldehyde are moderately toxic to humans and birds. Vegetables treated with products that contain methiocarb should not be harvested for seven days.

How to dispose: Follow the hazardous waste tips.

Next time: Commercial products with iron chelates are a better bet. Or, try home remedies such as beer traps (also known as 'slug pubs!'), physical barriers (ash, sawdust). Attracting natural predators such as birds and blue-tongue lizards into your garden will also get rid of your snail problem.

Tips to disposing of household hazardous waste

Most waste management facilities will only accept household quantities of waste. Each facility varies in terms of exactly what it will accept and when, so get in touch with your local council or state government environment agency, which can also advise you on how to transport your items. Special arrangements can sometimes be made for farms and country callers.