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Gardening is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby that brings beauty and freshness to our surroundings. However, it also generates a significant amount of waste in the form of grass clippings, leaves, pruning’s, and other materials such as plant pots. Properly disposing of this garden waste is essential to maintain a clean and sustainable environment. In this article, we will explore the best and eco-friendly ways to manage and dispose of garden waste here in the UK.
Green Waste Collection Service
One of the most convenient and environmentally friendly ways to dispose of garden waste (green waste) in England is through the green waste collection service. This is often done as a combined food waste and garden waste collection service (organic waste only). Such combined collections are provided free of charge, with the council providing internal caddies and liners for the separation of food, plus an external wheelie bin to put the food waste and garden waste into together. These are emptied weekly alongside general waste and recycling collections throughout the entire year. Other councils provide garden waste only bins, which tend to be serviced fortnightly on a seasonal basis from April to October only to tie in with the growing season. Many councils charge for this type of service, however most local councils provide residents with green waste collections in some form.
These green waste collections ensure that your organic garden waste is efficiently managed and sent for composting.
Composting is an excellent option for gardeners who wish to be more environmentally conscious and create their own nutrient-rich soil conditioner. Setting up a compost bin in your garden allows you to compost various garden waste materials, including vegetable scraps, grass cuttings, leaves, and small branches. The compost produced can be used to enrich the soil, improve plant growth, and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
For individuals who may not have space or time for composting at home, some communities in England offer community composting schemes. These schemes allow residents to bring their garden waste to a designated communal composting site, where it is collectively processed and made available for public use. Community composting fosters a sense of environmental responsibility and strengthens local communities.
Household Waste Recycling Centres
Many local household waste recycling centres (HWRC) across England accept garden waste. These facilities have designated areas for green waste, and some may even provide chippers to help with processing larger branches and twigs. We recommend visiting your local HWRC website before visiting to familiarise yourself with their guidelines and any potential charges for disposing of garden waste.
Private Garden Waste Collection Services
In areas where municipal green waste collection services are limited or unavailable, private garden waste collection services can be a viable option. These services often operate on a subscription or pay-as-you-go basis and will collect garden waste directly from your property. While there might be a fee associated with this service, it ensures that your garden waste is appropriately managed and disposed of.
Donating or Reusing Garden Waste
Certain types of garden waste, such as grass clippings, leaves, and untreated wood, can be reused for various purposes. Grass clippings and leaves can be used as mulch to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds, while untreated wood can be repurposed for DIY garden projects. Additionally, some local gardening groups or farms might be interested in accepting certain types of garden waste for composting or animal bedding.
Non-Organic Garden Waste
When discussing the best ways to dispose of garden waste in England, it's important to consider non-organic materials used in gardening, such as plastic plant pots and hosepipes. Proper management of these materials is vital for minimising environmental impact and promoting sustainability.
Plastic Plant Pots
Plastic plant pots are commonly used in gardening, but they can contribute to plastic waste if not properly managed. It is important to note that plastic plant pots should not be put in your recycling bin at home, as they are made from a rigid plastic and are therefore unsuitable for kerbside schemes.
Plastic plant pots can be taken to your local HWRC for recycling. Before recycling, it is essential to rinse the pots to remove any remaining soil and let them dry. By recycling plastic pots, we reduce the demand for new plastic production and help conserve resources.
Reusing Plastic Plant Pots: Another eco-friendly approach is to reuse plastic plant pots whenever possible. After replanting or transplanting, clean the pots thoroughly to remove any debris, and they will be ready for use again. Reusing pots not only reduces waste but also saves money and reduces the need for new pots.
Alternatives to Plastic Pots: Biodegradable pots made from materials like coconut coir, peat, or compressed wood fibres are available and can be used for seedlings or small plants. The benefit is you can plant seeds in the pots and then put the whole thing in the ground so that the young seedlings are not disturbed. The pots eventually biodegrade in the soil.
Wood Stain/Paint Cans
Wood stain and paint cans should not be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin at home. They are made from a rigid plastic, which isn't really suitable for the kerbside scheme. Also, they can contain toxic chemicals and should therefore be handled with care. They can usually be recycled at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.
Hosepipes should not be recycled in your kerbside recycling bin at home. During the summer months, we receive an influx of hosepipes at our Materials Recycling Facility, and they can be very problematic as they get caught in the processing machines, which disrupts our operations and can damage machinery. Hosepipes can be taken to your local household waste recycling centre, where they will be recycled based on their material type.
J&B Recycling provide waste management solutions for local authorities and businesses across the North of England. We work in partnership with Wastewise who process garden and kitchen waste in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Our main Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is based in Hartlepool
and we have a second site in Middlesbrough, making us ideally placed for collections across Teesside (Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough
and Darlington). We also have a site in Washington and we operate established collection routes throughout Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if we can help with your waste collection.