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Alternatives to Chemical Products
Around the Yard and Garage

Natural Pest Solutions

  • Ask your veterinarian for the least toxic way to control fleas and ticks on pets. 
  • Some damaging insects can be eliminated by manual removal or through use of barriers. Planting native shrubs and flowers can attract beneficial insects that eat pests.
  • Instead of using mothballs, try storing items in cedar or metal containers to protect them from moths or mice.
  • There are many natural and less toxic products to control both indoor and outdoor pests. Check with your garden store for products such as hot pepper wax and insecticidal soap. 
  • http://www.beyondpesticides.org/  has a list of alternative pesticides.
Healthy Lawns, Landscapes, and Gardens
A healthy lawn and garden is the best way to combat weeds and pests. Healthy soils contribute to healthy lawns and plants. 
  • Healthy lawns can often be as simple as keeping grass height to about 3 inches and leaving at least some grass clippings on the lawn. 
  • Aerating compacted areas will allow air and water to get down to grass roots. 
  • Compost is an excellent fertilizer. Top-dressing lawns, landscape, and gardens with compost will help make them disease- and drought-resistant. 
  • Before applying synthetic fertilizers, do a soil test to see what your yard and garden need. Check the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association website at www.wmassmastergardeners.org for information. If you must use fertilizer, look for a brand that does not contain herbicides, pesticides, or phosphorus. 
  • Use appropriate landscaping techniques and plants for your yard to reduce chemical applications. Native perennial plants make an attractive addition to yards and require less maintenance and water than grass and non-native shrubbery. 
  • Ask your local garden center for natural ways to maintain healthy lawns, landscapes, and gardens. 
  • Never pour chemical lawn and garden products down a drain. 
Vehicle Care
  • When washing vehicles consider using a commercial car wash—water is recycled and oil that is washed off vehicles is separated and treated. 
  • Try citrus-based solvents for parts cleaning. 
Proper Disposal of Automotive Fluids
  • Never pour gasoline or other chemicals into used motor oil. 
  • It is illegal to dispose of motor oil and lead acid batteries in the trash. Used motor oil is a valuable resource which can be recycled to make new oil products or burned for heat. 
  • If disposed in the garbage, or dumped on the ground or down a sewer system, used oil, coolant, and other auto fluids can pollute our drinking water or contaminate lakes, rivers, or the groundwater. Remember, clean water starts in your home and yard. Contact the District at (413) 772-2438 about free containers for used oil and information on proper disposal.
Building and Remodeling
  • Look for building materials and supplies that have the least amount of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals are carcinogens and cause other types of health problems as well, particularly in children. Use water-based, latex products.  Paints and varnishes with low or no VOCs are available. 
  • When carpeting your home, look for carpet that is made from recycled plastic and meets the indoor air quality standards established by the Carpet and Rug Institute (www.carpet-rug.com). 
  • Avoid pressure-treated lumber which contains arsenic. Most home improvement centers carry alternatives to pressure-treated lumber. Cedar is naturally resistant to fungus and insects. Recycled plastic lumber works well for decks and playground equipment. Call the District or visit our website for more information on pressure-treated lumber.
  • Keep all paint products and construction wastes away from the gutter, street, and storm drains. Dispose of unwanted oil-based paint, used thinner, and paint residue at a household hazardous waste collection, never down the drain or in the garbage.  Contact the District for information on collection events.

Franklin County Solid Waste Management District
50 Miles Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Tel: (413) 772-2438
MA Relay for the hearing impaired: 711 or 1-800-439-2370 (TTY/TDD)
Fax: (413) 772-3786
Staff email addresses 

This website is made possible through a grant from the 
USDA Rural Utilities Service.
FCSWMD is an equal opportunity provider.
Full Equal Opportunity Disclosure Statement.