Pests. Plants. People.

Increasing Awareness for Reducing Pesticide Use

The Boulder County Hazardous Materials Management Facility received over 54,000 pounds of pesticides and herbicides in 2019 costing the county over $49,000 to dispose of. In addition to the economic cost these chemicals can also have negative impacts to the environment and our safety. This campaign aims to inspire awareness of alternate pest management methods and to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides in homes.

The term “pesticides” is commonly used to refer to all substances used to control pests. This includes insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, and so much more.

Healthier plants need less help from pesticides. Set up your garden in the right location with proper soil health and irrigation.

  • Take inventory of what you already have at home to avoid buying duplicates.
  • Hold back on buying all together. Try our weed prevention tips and wait until you see the weeds growing before buying products.
  • Only buy what you need. Use our common surface area formulas to calculate the surface of your yard and figure out how much you’ll need to buy.
  • Dispose of unused and unwanted pesticides properly at the HMMF.

Give your lawn and garden a strong start. Follow our tips to help tackle weeds and accept that no lawn is 100% free of weeds.


  • When you mow, cut no shorter than 2.5-3” in length to keep your grass healthy.
  • Fertilize your lawn only as needed to maintain a healthy lawn that can compete with weeds.
  • Hand pull or hoe weeds or hire a young entrepreneur to do it.
  • Pour boiling water on weeds popping up in sidewalk cracks or edges.
  • Use mulches and non-plastic fabric to block weed growth.


  • Mix compost into the soil to add nutrients for soil health or better yet, make your own compost to be sure it’s not contaminated with weed seeds. Participate in a free compost workshop hosted by Boulder County.
  • Thin crowded planting to improve air circulation.
  • Try companion gardening (strategically place pest deterring species such as basil, chives, or petunias, or chrysanthemums).
  • Rotate your annuals each year to reduce the build up of pests.

Landscaping with Native Plants

Different pests require different approaches. Identify your pest so you can learn its lifestyle and the best way to manage it.

  • Insects & Spiders
    • Identify bugs to determine if they are beneficial or harmful.
      • Beneficial bugs could include bees, lady beetles, most spiders, green lacewings, damsel bugs, ground beetles, and predatory mites.
      • Damaging insects can include aphids, ash borers, or pine beetles.
    • Plant a diverse group of plants to provide more types of foods and homes for beneficial insects. Try adding lemon balm, thyme, spearmint, or purple coneflower.
  • Rodents, birds, and larger animals
    • Block all holes and openings in your house (including attics and window wells). Look along the ground and within roof eaves and soffits. Get rid of wood and rock piles near the house. Store all food in secure containers and cupboards that can’t be chewed through.
    • Once spring babies are born it’s more humane to wait a few weeks for them to get big enough to move.
  • Slugs
    • Put a local Boulder County based craft beer in shallow containers or saucers to attract and drown slugs

Pesticides have a lot of unintended targets. If they are not applied appropriately or stored incorrectly, they can have negative effects on human health, and the environment.

  • Some pesticides/herbicides have been found to be carcinogenic chemicals that cause childhood cancer. Research the product and the ingredients before you use it.
  • Store chemicals in clearly labeled containers that aren’t leaking. Never use the same sprayer for different types of chemicals.
  • Pesticides from lawns can run off with rainwater contaminating nearby water sources and groundwater. Excess fertilizer can also run off causing algae blooms that are deadly to fish and other aquatic life.
  • Drift (wind) movement of spray droplets can affect unintended targets such as bees, ladybugs, or more desired native plants.

Guides & Brochures

Reduce Your Use Of Pesticides Campaign Launch

Only Buy What You Need P3 Rack Card

Alternative Weed Management

Beneficial Bugs and Nuisance Bugs – Reduce Your Use of Pesticides by Attracting Beneficial Bugs

Green Is The New Pink – Go Easy on the fertilizer!

Backyard Activity Book for Kids – this EPA booklet includes fun activities to educate children about pest identity. Recommended for grades 1–6. United States Environmental Protection Agency 2003

Landscaping with Native Plants – Colorado State University Extension Office

City of Boulder Organic Lawn Care Guide

Contact Us

Hazardous Materials Management Facility



West of Boulder County Recycling Center
1901 63rd St.
Boulder, CO 80301
Map and Directions
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday: Business waste by appointment only