It's reported that 2.12 billion tons of waste are dumped globally every year, and 18% of the waste dumped in landfills is garden waste. Garden waste, whether it's old branches and leaves or soil and grass, has to go somewhere. Even though there are now many recycling initiatives and facilities, you can also be effective with your waste at home to ensure that you are deposing of it safely and helping the environment.
Build a compost bin
Building your own at-home compost kit is a great way to manage garden waste and turn it into fodder for the garden. Ideally, you'll want to keep it away from the house in an area with efficient drainage. You also want to build it on soil, not concrete. As you stock it with garden waste and organic kitchen waste too, the decomposition process will occur. The result over time will be a rich material that's dark in colour and can be used to help your plants thrive. Woody stems have a high carbon content and can take time to decompose, so you can build a separate compost bin or shred them before you add them.
For more information on how to stop wasting food, visit Love Food Hate Waste.
Although it's easy to bag up grass cuttings so they can be collected for recycling, it's actually very easy and effective to recycle your own grass cuttings. You can leave them on the lawn by utilizing a practice called Grass-cycling. As grass cuttings are rich in nutrients, keeping them on the lawn will allow the nutrients back into the lawn and could save you as much as 25 percent on fertiliser. This practice will also save you time on bagging up the cuttings and won't cause a thatch build-up, which can be caused by over-fertilising. You can even buy mulching mowers that will scatter the grass cuttings back onto the lawn for grass-cycling.
The global market for artificial grass is increasing. Although artificial grass can last a long time, it may not last forever. This is because it is usually made of plastic materials such as latex, polypropylene or polyethylene and contains infill, so it must be reused properly. Instead of disposing it so that it ends up in a landfill, the most environmentally friendly way is to use a company that specifically separates the plastic from the infill.
Recycle with others
If you can't effectively compost yourself, then you can research your local composting facility or garden waste recycling programme. You could also join together with local residents or neighbours and build a community compost site. This could be a communal facility where you can all help to safely recycle garden waste and create something together.
However environmentally conscious you are, there are ways in which you can play a part in effectively recycling your garden waste. Consider grass-cycling or creating a compost bin to dispose safely of outdoor waste. If you don't have the time or space to build a compost bin, then look into local garden waste recycling facilities and do your part to recycle your waste rather than wasting it.
For more information on recycling, visit Recycle NZ.