How often have you looked at your backyard and thought, “Wow, this place is a mess! I really need to dispose of yard waste.” Well, you’re not alone. Many people have trouble knowing how to get rid of backyard waste to increase curb appeal.
Garden waste can build up quickly; before you know it, you have a big problem. From leaves and twigs to grass clippings and garden debris, there’s a lot of waste to deal with.
And if you don’t deal with it properly, it can attract pests, create health hazards, and even damage your property. So what’s the best way to get rid of all that backyard waste? The answer may surprise you.
Keep reading. You’ll be glad you did!
What Is Yard Waste?
Before we divulge into how to get rid of backyard waste, let’s first define what it is. Yard waste is any organic material that comes from your yard from large trees, shrubs, and bushes. They include:
- Leaves and twigs
- Grass clippings
- Garden debris
- Hedge trimmings
- Tree limbs and branches
- Pine Needles
- Old sod
- And other yard waste
Basically, anything that grows in your yard can be considered yard waste. And while some of it, like leaves and twigs, can be composted, other items, like grass clippings, should be disposed of properly.
The Dangers of Improperly Disposing of Yard Waste
When you have a lot of yard debris, throwing it all in the trash can be tempting. But that’s not always the best solution. Here’s why:
It Can Attract Pests
If your yard is producing surplus waste, chances are you also have a lot of pests. That’s because many pests, like rats and mice, are attracted to organic material. So if you’re not cautious, you could end up with a severe pest problem.
It Can Create Health Hazards
Yard waste can also be dangerous to your health. If it’s left to decompose, it can release harmful toxins into the air. And if you have allergies, exposure to these toxins can trigger a severe reaction.
It Can Damage Your Property
Finally, yard debris can also damage your property. If it’s left to decompose, it can attract mold and mildew. And if it’s not disposed of properly, it can cause flooding.
Most importantly, some organic waste does not belong in an incinerator or landfill. Organic wastes like food scraps, for example, should be composted. Sending them to landfills may not decompose them properly.
As a result, they will release methane gas into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas. This can cause climate change and other environmental problems.
In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency states that methane’s presence in the atmosphere influences the earth’s climate system and temperature.
This is because methane (CH4) is 25x more effective than carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Thus, it causes the temperature to rise.
Many homeowners unknowingly contribute to climate change by sending their yard waste to landfills. So what’s the solution? How to get rid of backyard waste without damaging the environment?
Is It a Good Idea to Burn Yard Waste?
You may have heard that burning yard waste is a good way to get rid of it. But is that really true?
No! Burning is not a good yard waste disposal method. While burning yard waste may seem like an easy solution, it’s actually not a good idea. Here’s why:
- It’s illegal in some states. In many states, it’s actually against the law to burn yard waste. That’s because it can release harmful toxins into the air, which can be dangerous to your health.
- It’s bad for the environment. Burning yard waste is also bad for the environment. When you burn organic material, it releases methane gas into the atmosphere.
- It’s a fire hazard. Finally, burning yard waste is also a fire hazard. If you’re not careful, you could start a wildfire that could damage your property and endanger your life.
How to Get Rid of Backyard Waste? The Best Ways to Eliminate Yard Waste
There are a plethora of ways to get rid of yard waste. But not all of them are equally effective or environmentally friendly. Here are some of the best ways to get rid of your backyard waste:
Lawn Care – Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn
If you have a lawn, one of the best ways to get rid of grass clippings is to leave them on the property. Grass clippings add nutrients that your lawn needs, making excellent fertilizer.
Plus, they’re free! So why not put them to good use? Just be sure to cut grass regularly and evenly. This will prevent the clippings from smothering your lawn and causing problems.
On the other hand, if the green waste makes a large clump, use your mower to chop them up. This allows you to spread the clippings evenly over your lawn.
An often overlooked benefit of not throwing away grass clippings is that it reduces transportation-related emissions.
Turn Backyard Waste Into Mulch
Mulching is the process of covering the soil with a layer of organic material. This can be done for both aesthetic and practical purposes.
For example, mulch can make your garden look neater. But it can also help to prevent weeds from growing, conserve moisture, and protect your plants from extreme temperatures.
When it comes to mulch, there are two types: organic and inorganic. Inorganic ones, like rocks and gravel, don’t break down over time. So it’s not ideal for use in gardens.
On the other hand, organic mulch, like wood chips, bark, and leaves, does break down over time. As it does, the mulch releases nutrients into the soil, which is great for your plants.
Organic mulch is easy to make at home. All you need is a mulching mower or a wood chipper/shredder. With a mulching mower, you can create your own mulch. Simply mow your lawn and let the clippings fall where they may. They’ll eventually break down and turn into mulch.
If you don’t have a mulching mower, you can use a chipper/shredder to turn yard waste into mulch. This is a great way to eliminate branches, leaves, and other debris.
It can be made from leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and even tree bark. And it has a lot of benefits, including:
- suppressing weeds
- retaining moisture
- preventing erosion
- protecting plants from extreme temperatures
- adding nutrients to the soil
- keeping the soil temperature adequate
Just be sure to use a thick layer. This will prevent weeds from growing and help your plants to retain moisture.
Not only does mulch give your garden beds a neater appearance, but it also covers up bare soil. Soil that is left uncovered has little to no life and is more likely to experience erosion than covered soil.
Reuse fallen branches and brush as mulch for your open spaces. Mulching can get expensive, especially when you add delivery fees, so using yard waste is a more affordable option.
Compost Backyard Waste
Composting is an excellent way to get rid of yard waste. And it has the added benefit of creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden.
To create compost piles, you’ll need a compost bin or pile. This can be as simple as a wire cage or an old trash can with holes drilled in the bottom.
Or you can build your compost bin using pallets, recycling bins, or other materials. Once you have your bin or pile, it’s time to start adding materials.
The key to successful composting is to create the right mix of carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. They can be easily sourced from your yard trimmings.
- Carbon-rich materials, like leaves and straw, are brown or tan.
- Nitrogen-rich materials, like kitchen scraps and green leaves, are green.
- You’ll need about three parts carbon-rich material to 1 part nitrogen-rich material.
- You should also add a layer of soil to your bin or pile. This will help to introduce beneficial microbes that will speed up the composting process.
Once you have your bin or pile assembled, it’s time to start adding materials. How often you add material will depend on the size of your bin or pile.
For example, if you have a small bin, you may need to add material every day or two. But if you have a large bin, keeping yard waste once a week or so is advised.
When adding green materials, be sure to mix them up. This will help to aerate the compost and speed up the decomposition process.
Composting can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Once the material in your bin or pile has broken down, it’s ready to use.
Just add it to your garden beds or use it as a top dressing for your lawn. You can also add it to potted plants.
Not only is composting a great way to get rid of yard waste, but it’s also an excellent way to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. And it doesn’t take much time or effort to do.
So if you’re looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact and improve your garden, composting is the way to go.
Drop Yard Waste at a Municipal Collection Site
If you don’t want to compost your yard waste or you have more than you can compost, you can take it to a municipal collection site.
Most municipalities have at least one collection site or a disposal center where residents can drop off yard waste, including hazardous materials. In some cases, they have dumping trucks that come to houses and residential societies on collection day.
This is one of the eco friendly ways to get rid of brush, leaves, plastic bags, yard waste bags, and other organic debris.
And it’s usually free or very low-cost. Check with your municipality to find out where the nearest collection site is, what types of organic waste and materials they accept, what the local laws state, and what disposal method you have to follow.
Yard waste can also be taken to a landfill. But this should be a last resort as landfills are not designed for organic materials.
Use Backyard Waste to Fill Raised Beds and Build Planting Mounds
Brush, leaves, and other organic debris can be used to fill raised beds and build planting mounds.
For gardeners who don’t have much space, raised beds are a great option. And using yard waste to fill them is a great way to reduce your environmental impact.
You can also use yard waste to build planting mounds. This is an excellent way to add height and interest to your garden. Just be sure to mix the material up, so it doesn’t compact too much.
A garden bed contains different layers of soil and organic matter. The top layer, or surface layer, is an essential layer for plant growth.
The best part is that you can use waste like cardboard and newspaper to create this layer. Just lay down a few sheets of newspaper or cardboard, wet them, and then cover them with leaves, straw, or grass clippings.
This will help to smother any weeds that may be growing in the area and also help to retain moisture.
Know Your Local Regulations for Disposing of Yard Waste
Before getting rid of any yard waste, check with your local municipality to find out what the regulations are.
Some municipalities have restrictions on what materials can be disposed of and how they can be disposed of.
For example, some municipalities require that yard waste be taken to a municipal collection site. Others may allow you to put it in your regular trash.
It’s important to know the regulations in your area so you can dispose of your waste properly. Improper disposal of yard waste can lead to fines or other penalties. And it can also harm the environment.
So do your research and ensure you’re properly disposing of your yard waste.
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TAKE THE FIRST STEP
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