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Recycle A to Z


Fertilizers are plant food supplements that may be divided into two broad groups: organic and inorganic.

Inorganic fertilizers are usually manufactured. Commonly used synthetic fertilizers consist almost entirely of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The numbers on the fertilizer bags (e.g. 10-8-6) refer to the percentage by weight of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium.

Inorganic fertilizers can be one of the major sources of groundwater and surface water pollution. Excess nitrogen in drinking water can lead to methemoglobinemia (oxygen starvation or blue baby syndrome) especially in children under the age of one. The nitrogen is in such a soluble form that it tends to leach from the point of application.

Excess phosphorus in surface water can lead to algae blooms that use up dissolved oxygen in the water causing fish to die.

Water-soluble chemical fertilizers will injure plants if not washed or brushed off the foliage. Slow-release fertilizers are less susceptible to leaching and are preferred on sandy soil types, which tend to leach.

Organic Fertilizers: An organic fertilizer is derived from a living plant or animal source. Examples of naturally occurring organic fertilizers include manure, slurry, worm castings, peat, seaweed, sewage , and guano. Green manure crops are also grown to add nutrients to the soil. Naturally occurring minerals such as mine rock phosphate, sulfate of potash and limestone are also considered Organic Fertilizers.

Examples of manufactured organic fertilizers include compost, bloodmeal, bone meal and seaweed extracts. Other examples are natural enzyme digested proteins, fish meal, and feather meal. The decomposing crop residue from prior years is another source of fertility. Though not strictly considered “fertilizer”, the distinction seems more a matter of words than reality.

The use of organic fertilizers increases the soil&rsquoe;s organic matter content and improves the soil’s physical structure.


Carefully read the label before purchasing a fertilizer. Follow all label directions, applying only the recommended amounts. Twice as much fertilizer does not work twice as well.

Does it contain Herbicides?

Fertilizers that do not contain herbicides (weed killer), or insecticides (bug killer) may be disposed of as a solid waste in the garbage. If you are in doubt, please dispose of it as a hazardous waste.

Fertilizers that do contain herbicides (weed killer), or insecticides (bug killer) should be disposed of as hazardous wastes.

Proper Disposal

Free Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

If you are a resident of Clark County or one of its cities, you may dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste products at any of the following HHW collection programs. Business-generated hazardous waste will not be accepted.

Home Collection

Eligible senior and citizens with disabilities who are unable to transport HHW to a collection site or event may call (360) 397-6118 ext. 4352 to see if they qualify for a free home pick up.

Fixed Collection Facilities

Satellite Collection Events


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