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EPA Urges People To Keep Weedkiller Out Of Compost

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is encouraging people to take more care to stop plants sprayed with weedkillers containing clopyralid from contaminating compost.

The EPA today issued an advisory notice to highlight the issues and prompt people selling and using these weedkillers to follow the rules. These include restrictions on disposing of sprayed plants and lawn clippings. Some clopyralid products can only be sold to and used by workplaces.

Clopyralid is used to control weeds in sports turf, lawns, and on farms. If plants sprayed with the substance get into compost, the compost can harm some garden plants.

The EPA’s General Manager Engagement, Paula Knaap, says clopyralid breaks down slowly in sprayed plants. It will affect compost that contains weeds sprayed with clopyralid and even manure from animals that have eaten vegetation contaminated by clopyralid.

"It’s important for people to properly dispose of weeds or lawn clippings sprayed with clopyralid. Make sure they go to landfill, rather than in green waste collections or in compost.

"Some plants grown in compost contaminated with clopyralid can become stunted or distorted. Beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, and roses are most affected," Paula Knaap says.

Sports turf, garden, or mowing professionals should put weeds or grass clippings sprayed with clopyralid in landfill - not compost, mulch or council green waste.

They should also tell their clients to send weeds or grass clippings treated with clopyralid to landfill.

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Arable or pastoral farmers with crops or pasture sprayed with clopyralid need to ensure harvested vegetation or grazing animal waste doesn’t get into the domestic compost market.

The advisory reminds people with livestock to keep animal waste out of compost if the animal has eaten plants sprayed with clopyralid.

Gardeners can make sure their compost doesn’t contain clopyralid if they:

- buy compost certified as organic

- ask their compost supplier if it’s been tested for clopyralid

- make their own compost and exclude weeds or lawn clippings sprayed with clopyralid.

"If everyone in the clopyralid supply chain follows the rules, we can ensure that compost is safe for gardeners to grow healthy plants," Paula Knaap says.

The EPA regulates products containing clopyralid under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

Read clopyralid advisory:

Follow the rules for clopyralid weedkiller to avoid contaminating compost | EPA

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