Ways of Protecting the Environment When Removing Garden Waste
A garden is a beautiful place. It can be a place of relaxation, creativity, and exercise. However, it also can produce great amounts of waste that need to be disposed of responsibly.
As the autumn progresses, homeowners will want to begin cleaning up their gardens and yards. While putting away flowers and raking leaves is an expected autumn occurrence, there are many other lawn care activities homeowners should consider before winter arrives.
One of these tasks that can be easily overlooked is garden waste removal. Putting your grass clippings, garden refuse, and other materials in the refuse, on the curb, or even in landfills, damages the environment.
Over time, mounds of thrown-away eco-unfriendly waste decompose and produce methane gas, harmful to the environment.
Thankfully, there are several eco-friendly alternatives homeowners can consider for waste disposal. Experts recommend composting leaves, grass clippings, and other types of garden debris to reduce your carbon footprint.
Composting in the garden
According to the EPA, in 2018, the rate of composting food and other related items in America, for example, was 4.1%. While composting garden waste is an easy way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many homeowners are unaware that several types of composting options are available.
For instance, garden refuse can be placed in an in-ground composter to break down over time.
Build an in-ground composter
If you’re looking for a DIY option or have limited space, consider building an in-ground composter out of cinder blocks or old pallets. Other eco-friendly alternatives include vermicomposting. This is a process that uses worms to break down organic material – or simply piling garden waste in a designated area of your yard.
Hands-off compost option
If you’re looking for a more hands-off option, several companies will pick up garden waste at your home and turn it into compost for a small fee. If you’re wondering about the costs involved in yard waste removal, consider that most providers charge by the load, not by the bag.
To give you a better idea of how much compost you will need, one ton of brush or tree trimmings can produce up to three cubic yards of compost mixed with grass clippings and leaves.
Dealing with chemicals
Ensure any chemicals used on your lawn area are entirely removed before removing any other vegetation where there could be deposits of leftover product.
A broom will remove this easily when working over grassed areas, but if working over paved surfaces, then try spraying off with water first or sweep into piles away from footpaths, etc.
When dry, use a stiff brush to scrub up all residue that has settled on paving slabs, etc. If there is still some small amount remaining even after sweeping up thoroughly, then a small amount of soapy water with a stiff scrubbing brush can be used safely to remove it altogether.
Try using paper sacks for storage
These will undoubtedly help reduce threats to nature by saving trees from being cut down just for our personal needs. If you end up buying no more than one sack per year, it makes a huge difference.
You should start doing this as soon as possible if you want to make your garden look good and eco-friendly at the same time (no extra costs involved!). Every little bit helps in this case!
Make sure all your items are fully biodegradable (such as no plastic bags).
If you are collecting your garden waste yourself, then it’s essential to ensure that all items are fully biodegradable, so they break down naturally. This means no plastic bags or clothes pegs, as these take a very long time to decompose and often end up floating around the ocean for years.
Ensure your cuttings/clippings are always wet
When cutting back plants and hedges, one of the most helpful things to do is ensure they’re kept damp at all times (which should be pretty easy if you work in small sections).
Allowing them to dry out can cause them to rot before they even reach their final destination, which hurts the environment.
Collecting leaves should be left until the autumn or winter
Leaves are perhaps one of the most common garden waste items you will come across. Collecting them in bulk throughout the summer, while possible, can result in them drying out too quickly to decompose appropriately, so it is best to save this task for the autumn/winter period when they have fully changed colour.
Choose a collection point that doesn’t require you to burn your garden waste
If your chosen collection point requires you to burn your garden waste before disposing of it properly, then it’s probably not worth taking on this task.
Burning has been shown to produce harmful “particulate matter,” which can cause respiratory issues and other health problems if inhaled by humans (and can even cause cancers if it is burned in the open air).
Be aware that not all green waste is recyclable
Many of us recycle our green garden waste because we think it’s good for the environment. However, many councils only collect items like leaves or grass cuttings (rather than hedge clippings or branches), so make sure your green waste will either be collected separately or you are able to take it with you wherever you go.
Make sure your compost bin is full before taking the contents elsewhere
If you do decide to use a collection point that doesn’t accept burnable items, then you should consider whether this collection point accepts any other kinds of materials first.
Some sites will just accept grass and leaves, but not branches and twigs, so be sure to check before filling up your compost bin or strimming your lawn.
Ensure you know when the collection point is open for longer hours
Depending on where you live in the world, you may see different rules when it comes to what times a garden waste recycling site accepts items. If this is the case, then do take advantage of the extended hours to ensure all your cuttings are dropped off at their intended destination.
Hire a skip rental
Most skip rental dispose of waste in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. They have professional staff and appropriate equipment to do this work. Skip-Rental.co.uk suggests that a skip rental is the most efficient way to remove waste from your garden.
There are many effective ways to protect the environment while removing garden waste. From composting to recycling, these methods will not only leave your yard looking great but also be good for the earth as well. So go ahead and try some of them out.
Photo by Peter Rock from Pexels