There are proper ways of getting rid of your garden waste that won’t get you in trouble with your city council and that, more importantly, will not harm the environment. If you’re a gardener, landscaper, or simply a homeowner with no idea what to do with your organic garden waste, read on for our tips on garden junk removal.
What is garden waste?
To be clear, these are the materials that are usually considered organic garden waste or yard waste:
- Grass clippings
- Dead or unwanted plants
- Branches and twigs
- Pumpkins and corn stalks
- Tree trunks, limbs, and stumps
- Discarded Christmas trees
What happens when you don’t dispose of garden waste properly?
It may not seem like a big deal, but the improper disposal or dumping of garden waste harms the Earth, the community, and your wallet.
When garden waste is dumped in places where it has no business being, plants and animals are affected. Garden waste contains pests, weeds, and plant or animal diseases that can severely affect animal habitats and plant populations. They can also increase the risk of forest fires.
Dumping garden waste indiscriminately also affects the community. When one person disposes of his yard waste illegally, it may encourage others to follow suit or even to engage in other criminal activities. It affects the beauty and cleanliness of the community and may discourage tourists from visiting the region.
Communities and local governments spend a lot of money on clean-up operations and on trying to prevent people from disposing of their garden waste illegally. If you get caught doing this, you can get fined. In Australia, for example, the Environmental Protection Authority warns that you risk a $5,000 fine if you get caught illegally dumping your trash. You could also face up to seven years in prison.
Burning your garden waste is not an environmentally-friendly waste disposal method. According to Environment Canada, many communities have their own bylaws prohibiting the open burning of garbage or restricting the materials that can be burned.
One of the best and easiest ways to get rid of your organic garden waste is to turn it into compost. Composting helps you eliminate yard waste (and some food waste) by turning your organic waste into food for your garden.
These are the types of materials that you can compost:
- Leaves, weeds, and grass
- Flowers, clippings, and unwanted plants
- Twigs, pruned branches, and tree bark
- Fruits or vegetables grown in your yard
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Shredded paper and cardboard
- Vacuum dust
- Animal hair
And these are the types of materials you can’t compost:
- Bones and other hard objects
- Cat litter
- Animal excrement
- Dog and cat food
- Dairy products
- Meat and fish scraps
- Disposable nappies
- Soiled tissues
- Olive oil
- Coal ash
- Cigarette butts
- Cling film
- Cardboard and other paper products that are shiny and hard
- Drink cartons
- Plants with diseases
Any food or kitchen waste that you can’t put in the compost should go in your food waste bin. If you have enough space in your yard, you can build a compost heap enclosed in wood or brick. If there’s not much room, compost bins are a great option. You may find them in your local garden center or your city council may offer them at discounted prices.
Reuse and recycle
Before you add something to your compost heap or bin, you should first consider if you can reuse it. For example, branches and twigs can be used to light a barbecue or for DIY projects like wreaths and such. Unwanted plants can be donated or sold. Leftover building materials can be used to patch up sheds and greenhouses.
Instead of composting, you can also bring your recyclable garden waste to your local recycling center.
If you have some garden waste to dispose of, you can compost or reuse them. You can also have them picked up by your local garbage collection center or pay a junk removal service to have them properly taken care of. Whatever you do, just don’t dump them on the side of the road somewhere. Good luck!