For Beautiful, Sustainable, Healthy Gardens
In ‘Garden for Life’ reduce-reuse- recycle applies mainly to the reuse of old items to create garden features such as the outdoor shower and bath/water feature which is made from an old claw foot path given a lick of paint. The horse shoe arch and spiral are obvious examples too, however we can also apply this philosophy to garden waste. In this garden, grape vine and willow prunings have been used to make the amazing woven tree house woven.
Reuse Green Waste
One aspect of gardening, where we all need to look at what we as individuals do and improve it, is in our handling of green waste, whether kitchen scraps from inside the home, or gardening waste and prunings from outside.
The first thing we should aim to do is to work out if we can reduce the volume of green waste that leaves our property. Rather than send away our food and garden scraps, and then buy in compost to improve our gardens, why don’t we try and deal with it on-site with a compost system to take all green waste. However if space is limited or someone lacks the physical ability to handle a compost system, a worm farm or Bokashi bucket or even chickens, can take all the kitchen scraps that would in most other cases end up as landfill. Currently 48% of SA’s domestic waste which ends up as landfill is compostable and we could be using it to improve the organic matter in our soils and increase our soil’s water holding capacity and therefore reduce our garden’s water requirements.
Another way to reduce the green waste which leaves our property is to reuse it as mulch. Many gardeners take a bit more time when pruning to cut the plant material up and throw it back onto the ground. Others pile it on the lawn and run the lawn mower over it to make mower mulch. This is a great way of chopping up the material and it then saves you having to buy as much mulch which in turn saves you having to use as much water to sustain your garden. Make sure however not include any weeds that have already developed seeds in your mower mulch.
For those who do not have a compost system, they can put their green waste into the green recycling bin and then professionals can recycle it into compost and mulch. Despite ongoing educational media campaigns, contaminants remain one of the biggest frustrations for companies that recycle our green waste. Plastic is one of the most common pollutants as many gardeners unwittingly put their garden waste and prunings into plastic or garbage bags before putting it in the bin. Careless deposits of nappies, metal and other rubbish also cause problems and in many cases this has to be removed by hand sorting. So if this is your only option, make sure that you only put ‘Green’ waste into your green waste bin and know that you are doing the right thing.
For more information on recycling right, visit www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au and look at the great fact sheets for the home owner, especially Recycling Made Easy: Garden Organics.