Recycling in the Garden

Roughly one third of all waste dumped in overburdened landfills across the United States consists of garden clippings and kitchen waste—just the type of organic material most easily eliminated from the trash stream. By following the lead of the recycling movement, individual homeowners can reduce, reuse, and recycle this material instead of throwing it away. With planning, you can decrease the waste to zero, or nearly zero.

One of the most important ways to reduce yard waste is to leave grass clippings on the lawn to decompose. Instead of taking up valuable space in a dump, the clippings work their way into the ground, improving the soil and feeding the lawn. See Grass Clippings for more information.

The primary way to reuse organic waste is to mulch with it. Mulching offers myriad benefits, such as protecting the soil, conserving moisture, and suppressing weeds. See About Mulching.

A third important way to use up organic waste is to compost it, making soil conditioner and fertilizer for the garden. See About Compost.

In addition, many creative gardeners recycle household items in the garden, using disposable containers to start plants in, plastic milk jugs to protect seedlings, and old nylon hosery to tie up plants.