HOME  |  ABOUT US  |  CONTACT US


Laboratory Self-Audit: Greenhouses, Farm Plots & Horticultural Labs

Waste Stream Assessment:

Estimate what percentages of your waste fall into these common categories.  Add your own categories if necessary.

___% Agricultural Chemicals ___% Plant Material
___% Packaging and Containers ___% Other
___% Water and Soil Quality Issues  

Now look at where you can reduce waste, reuse materials or recycle. Try to make use of environmentally friendly or easily manageable gardening and farming products when possible.  Consider alternatives to dangerous or difficult to manage chemicals.

Use this checklist to identify possible problem areas.

Agricultural Chemicals

Pesticides and herbicides - Do You?

  • Keep product in original containers
  • Keep lids secure and closed tightly to prevent spills and evaporation
  • Store containers in an area where they won't corrode (not directly on the ground). Store over spill containing pallets when possible.
  • Know that any water contaminated with such waste becomes waste itself.
  • Teach students proper and efficient application and cleanup techniques.
  • Keep in mind that dry chemicals are safer to store and easier to clean up.
  • Buy only what you need.
  • Always follow recommended application rates.

Fertilizers - Do You?

  • Keep product in original containers.
  • Keep lids secure and closed tightly to prevent spills and evaporation.
  • Store containers in an area where they won't corrode (not directly on the ground). Store over spill containing pallets when possible.
  • Know that any water contaminated with such waste becomes waste itself.
  • Teach students proper and efficient application and cleanup techniques.
  • Keep in mind that dry chemicals are safer to store and easier to clean up.
  • Buy only what you need.
  • Always follow recommended application rates.
  • Consider testing the soil you intend to plant to determine the exact nutrient or fertilizer needs for your plot as a lab activity in itself. Interpret the results with the class. (Call the Extension Service for soil testing information.)

Plant Material

Dead plants and clippings - Do You?

  • Compost plant material for introduction into the soil. (Your local Extension office can provide you with literature and instructions.)
  • Choose composting over burning as a means of use or disposal.

Weeds - Do You?

  • Be careful handling weeds as they are a very serious environmental threat
  • Contact your local Extension office for information on noxious weeds in your area
  • Get local information on disposal and handling as they can vary from area to area.

Water and Soil Quality

Local water run-off - Do You?

  • Consider soil type in area of application. (Chemicals travel faster and easier through sand and gravel, so soil type may affect application rate.)
  • Consider distance to surface water and take care not to contaminate it.
  • Remember never to apply chemical when a rain storm may wash it all into a water source.

Mixing area - Do You?

  • Remember never to mix pesticides up slope from/or within 100 feet of a well
  • Mix near storage area to minimize the amount of transportation of bulk chemicals.
  • Always mix over some sort of containment basin or sealed concrete pad.

Packaging and Containers - Do You?

  • Re-use empty clean containers for storage of appropriate items
  • Return empty containers to the distributor for re-use where possible
  • Triple rinse empty chemical containers, using rinse water for application purpose and dilution of chemical.

Do not mix inappropriate chemicals even in diluted form

References:
  • Pesticide Storage and Handling, 1996, Georgia Farm-A-Syst, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
  • Improving Pesticide storage and Handling, 1993, Farm-A-Syst, Montana State University Extension Service and Montana Department of Agriculture.


The P2 audit for Agricultural and Vocational Educators was produced by the Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Information Center, funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency. 

Contact Us
P2 Network | Web Library | Directory | Topic Hubs™ | Search
Operated by MSU Extension Service | Funded by EPA Region 8 | Member P2Rx™
Has this publication been helpful to you?
Please email us about how this information helped you in your daily life: webmaster@peakstoprairies.org