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How to Reduce Garden Waste: 7 Tips for Better Recycling

Having a lush garden isn’t only a gift that you can enjoy on a daily basis, but it’s also a responsibility. Apart from tending to the plants, you also have to be aware that the amount of waste you collect is damaging to the environment if left unrecycled. Luckily, there are many things you can do to reduce garden waste and be more environmentally conscious. Because we want to help you out with that, we decided to devise a list of 7 tips for reducing garden waste and recycling better. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Reduce Garden Waste with These 7 Amazing Recycling Tips

1. Install a Drip Irrigation System

One of the biggest sources of garden waste is the irrigation system you have in place. If you have a small garden and you can water plants by hand that means you probably won’t be wasting any water. In the case of large gardens, it’s unrealistic to expect people to water everything manually. Irrigation systems are great for the health and longevity of the plants, but they should be great for the environment as well. This is why we advise replacing the sprinkler system with a drip irrigation system, like the RainRobot SW8100D Smart Drip Irrigation System that you can find here.

The sprinkler system typically wastes more water, but it doesn’t have to. You can try to adjust the water flow and the system’s times so that they’re more effective, but a better idea would be to install a drip irrigation system. This type of system does a great job in irrigating plants, while also eliminating any water waste. Plus, it’s able to reach places that sprinklers might have a difficult time reaching.

2. Reuse Pots

As long as you have pots at home that you can still use for growing plants, you shouldn’t buy new ones and throw the old ones away. Old plant pots can also look nice, especially if you’re into a more vintage look. If you don’t enjoy their appearance, you can also do a makeover and spruce them up. For instance, you can paint over the old paint, or decorate the pot with all sorts of materials, stickers, beads, and so on. If you know someone who has pots at home and doesn’t use them anymore, you can ask them to give them to you. This way, you won’t have to buy new ones.

If you have plenty of pots, but they’re all too damaged to be reused, don’t let them take up your space. Take them to a recycling center where they can dispose of them properly. The same goes for extra pots that you have no use for. This is a great example of garden waste recycling.

3. Grow Native Plants

Did you know that the less used to the climate that your plants are, the more waste they’re going to cause? That’s right, garden waste is also connected to the plant varieties you decide to grow in your garden. Plants which are used to growing in a certain climate are going to thrive there as well. Plus, since they’ve been growing in this type of climate for a long time, sometimes even without someone planting them on purpose, they don’t require high maintenance. This means you’ll also be reducing garden waste by planting them.

man planting a seedling with his hands

Being used to a certain climate means the plants are effective in providing you with a successful and rich yield, in creating habitats for wildlife, and in providing shade and wind protection. All in all, if you have the chance to grow plants which are typical for the area you live in, we advise you to take it and try to limit the number of exotic plants you grow.

4. Use as Little Plastic as Possible

As we all know, plastic is an important source of waste in general, not only garden waste. Even so, some people don’t even realize how much plastic they use in their garden and how damaging this can be for the environment. In order to diminish the use of plastic and as a result, diminish garden waste as well, we have a couple of suggestions.

First of all, if you’re using plastic bags for anything, replace them with bags made of paper. They’re much more beneficial for the environment and equally as effective in the garden. Second-of-all, plastic sheeting should be replaced with cardboard. A lot of people use sheets made of plastic to suppress weeds, but pieces of cardboard are a better alternative. Just make sure they don’t contain any staples or tape. Other great replacements for plastic sheeting are wood chips or leaves. As long as you have enough to create a thick layer, they’ll help you keep weeds in check.

5. Make Your Own Compost

Perhaps one of the best ways in which you can reduce the amount of garden waste you’re struggling with is making your own compost. Composting is the practice of turning garden waste into food for your plants. The great thing about this practice is that you don’t have to use strictly garden waste. You can also use household waste, such as waste coming from the kitchen (coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, eggs shells, tea bags, and so on).  You can use leaves, grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, plants, and similar things.

If you’re afraid that the process of turning waste into compost is too complicated, you shouldn’t worry. There isn’t much you have to do. Just collect all the waste into a compost bin, such as the Compost Wizard Jr. one that you can find here. Then, leave it be, only turning the compost every now and then. This will provide it with some oxygen that’s going to accelerate the decomposition process. The waste kept in the compost bin gathers three types of organisms: bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes. When they start developing, they turn the waste into compost.

6. Harvest Rainwater

This is a practice that has been around for a long time. What you maybe didn’t realize is that apart from helping you save money on water, it also helps the environment. The process is as simple as it sounds. All you have to do is get some containers or barrels and place them outside when you’re expecting rain, or you can keep them there at all times to avoid the effort of putting them out whenever it rains. Then, use the water you’ve collected there to irrigate your plants.

This is not the only way in which you can take advantage of rainwater for your irrigation needs. If you’re willing to be a bit craftier, you can build garden beds that are easily reachable by the runoff left behind by a heavy rain. Finally, you can also use the gutters on your house. Allow them to collect into a basin that can slowly release water into the soil once it’s full.

7. Try Grasscycling

Grasscycling works almost the exact same way composting does, by turning waste into food for your plants. This time, as you might’ve been able to guess, the trick is to recycle the grass on your lawn or in your garden. It might sound difficult, but it’s actually extremely simple. Whenever you mow the lawn using the mulching configuration, you only cut a couple of inches from the tips of the blades of grass. Moreover, the mower doesn’t collect the cuttings in that small bag attached to it. Instead, it releases them back on the lawn after cutting them into tiny pieces.

grass cuttings flying in the air

The fact that the pieces are so small helps with the decomposition process, providing your lawn with nutrients straight to the root. There are some things you should know before trying grasscycling. First of all, you can’t do it on grass that’s wet, so if you’re considering mowing the grass after it rains, you’re going to have to wait for it to dry. Second-of-all, you shouldn’t do it on lawns which are overgrown. Other than that, if you follow the instructions we provided you with and you do this regularly, your lawn is going to get 20% of its annual nitrogen requirement from this method. This means you’re going to reduce waste by fertilizing the lawn less, which is a great garden waste disposal method.

Summing It All Up

Reducing garden waste is a crucial step that anyone who owns a garden, be it large or small, should go through on a regular basis. The benefits of this practice are both for yourself and for the environment. Firstly, you’re going to reduce costs, since you won’t be consuming that much water or purchasing that much fertilizer. Secondly, you’re going to bring much less waste into the environment, and help recycle what you can recycle.

Overall, we see no reason why you shouldn’t try to be more environmentally conscious and pay more attention to getting rid of garden waste. If you didn’t know what to do with garden waste before, we hope you’ll start implementing some of the ideas above now.

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Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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