Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Pollution Prevention is in the Garden

Man and woman working in a garden

When you use mulch in your garden to control weeds instead of a chemical weed killer, you are practicing pollution prevention or P2.

Just because you have a “green thumb” doesn’t mean you are a “green Gardner.” Did you know that many non-polluting alternatives exist for eliminating unwanted weeds and other pests? Turning your garden into a healthy, productive and pollution-free paradise is possible.

“Most people depend on commercial garden supplies as the first and only means for controlling unwanted weeds and other pests in the garden,” explains Dave Hartley with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. “One goal of National P2 Week is to make gardeners more aware of various alternatives that exist, and the important role these alternatives have in preventing pollution from ending up in our water, soil, and air.

To improve your garden’s contribution to building a cleaner environment, the following techniques are recommended.

  • Control weeds by hand picking them and then applying mulch from wood chips or grass clippings. This mulch also acts as a natural fertilizer, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Eliminate bothersome snails by turning your garden into a “beer garden.” This guaranteed snail catcher is as easy as filling a shallow pan with beer, sinking it to ground level, and picking the snails out in the morning.
  • Introduce friendly insects such as ladybugs, ground beetles, and praying mantises to rid your garden of uninvited guests. Visit your local nursery to learn what plants will attract these insects into your garden.
  • Cut down on the amount of yard waste you create by grasscycling — leaving grass clippings on the lawn, or xeriscaping — using native, slow growing plants that don’t require as much trimming.
  • Do not fertilize or spray pesticides when rain is forecast within 24 hours. Stormwater runoff can carry fertilizer and pesticides to the storm drain system and then the local creek degrading water quality.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control would like to thank and acknowledge Kate Slama of the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Watershed Protection Unit for providing the information for National P2 Week.