Come summer, many of us spend time puttering around the garden. We weed, prune, rake leaves and mow our lawns. The more ambitious folks may even cut down trees and trim branches. The good news is that these efforts can result in a beautiful yard. The bad news is that all this work can create a lot of yard waste. If you don’t have a municipal pick-up program in place, getting rid of that yard waste while being planet-friendly can be a challenge. Luckily, there are a few eco-friendly ways to dispose of yard waste, so your compostables don’t end up in landfill.
1. Turn yard waste into mulch and keep the growing cycle going.
Places like The Salvation Army and Goodwill welcome your donations for resale, and may even come to Have a lot of trees, shrubs and dead branches to get rid of? That’s where a wood chipper comes in handy. Granted, many of us don’t have these in our garages. Luckily, you can rent a wood chipper and get rid of dead wood while generating mulch for your garden beds. Not only does this look nice, but it’s an affordable landscaping option that helps guard against soil erosion.
2. Leave grass clippings right on the lawn.
Here’s good news for lazy landscapers: leaving your grass clippings on the lawn is actually a good thing. Grass clippings protect the soil and as they decompose, returning valuable nutrients to the soil to make your grass healthier. If you find that your grass clippings are in larger clumps, lightly rake these to separate and spread clippings more evenly over your lawn.
3. Burn your wood yard waste.
Dry sticks and logs make great firewood, so if you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, stack these somewhere for winter. Alternatively, if you’re thinking of burning these in a pile outdoors, be sure to check municipal bylaws and follow the rules for burning yard waste to avoid a potential wildfire. You may need a permit.
4. Try a composting bin.
Using a composting bin is easier than you think. Just fill it and stir it every so often until the yard waste breaks down. Once it does, spread it on your lawn—it’s a great fertilizer. Note that this is not recommended if you have a lot of weeds and plants in your bin: you may find unwanted things re-growing your garden.
5. Share your yard waste with neighbours.
AIf you find you have too much yard waste, why not see if your neighbour could use some extra mulch for their garden or extra wood for their fireplace? Alternatively, you can channel your entrepreneurial spirit and list it on Facebook Marketplace.
6. Bag yard waste to leave by the curb or cart away.
Not into chipping or mulching? Collect yard waste in compostable large paper bags and leave these by the curb if your municipality has a pick-up program. Another option is to bring these to a yard waste collection site or composting centre. Be sure to check for sorting instructions and costs before making the trip.
7. Let professionals cart away your yard waste for you.
If you don’t have a way to get your yard waste to the dump and want to get it off your property, sometimes it’s just easier to call in the professionals. Companies like 1-800 GOT JUNK will come and pick up and help recycle your leaves and garden debris. Check their website to be sure they’ll pick up the type of yard waste you have.
Whichever way you choose to get rid of your yard waste, recycling is always the best option. Returning those nutrients to the soil helps new plants to grow, diverts waste from landfill and decreases the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. To quote the homemaking queen Martha Stewart, that’s a very good thing.