Garden waste

The biggest contribution any householder can make to reducing waste is to compost! Filling skips full of green garden waste then buying in soil improvers has got to be one of the craziest habits we’ve got into, because in landfill they create methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and polluting leachates. Composting at home is the best possible solution – your council may be one of the many that offer free compost bins and advice to encourage more households to get involved.

Adding paper and cardboard to your compost heap is particularly important for stopping your compost being too wet or sour – technically speaking, it both aerates the mix and increases the carbon : nitrogen ratio. Practically speaking, it just happens to work very well and deals with yet more of your household waste.

Adding kitchen scraps will make your compost richer (balance with woody material or paper/cardboard if necessary), and divert yet more potentially methane-producing waste from landfill.

Recycled products

Increasingly, garden products are being made from recycled materials, cutting the amount of natural resources required and using materials which would otherwise be thrown away. The Recycled Products Guide contains garden items including compost and mulches, fencing and planters from recycled material and much more.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Glass “gravel” as an alternative to freshly mined rock.
  • Panda Stix – rot-proof recycled plastic plant supports.
  • Use a wooden (FSC approved) Paper Potter to turn old newspapers into biodegradable starter pots for young transplants and seedlings. Available from various online suppliers.
  • Cut up large clear plastic drinks bottles to use as cloches.
  • Lakeland Limited sell screw-on fittings to turn plastic bottles into plant waterers.
  • Yogurt and similar plastic pots can be used for planting seeds and cuttings, and their lids can be used as saucers for pots indoors.

Designing and running a garden gives lots of opportunities for being creative with all kinds of cast-offs, especially when it comes to containers and planters. Don’t just look to the garden centres for inspiration – check out what other gardeners are getting up to, use your imagination, and have fun!


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