How to avoid the garden waste collection charges
18.10.2019 in News
In 2019, many Local Authorities have expressed the need to introduce a charge for kerbside garden waste collection. Whilst some have asked their constituents how much they think is a fair price to pay and how often they require collections, these charges are set by each local council, and can range from £20 up to £100 a year.
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Whilst some of us may be fearful that this extra charge is unaffordable, others simply do not like the added bill. Luckily, this collection is an ‘opt-in’ recycling service which means your garden waste will not be picked up if you do not wish to pay, but this means those of us with fallen leaves, grass and hedge trimmings have no way of disposing of it all. There is a way to properly dispose of your garden waste without paying charges, going to the local dump or leaving a pile to rot in your garden.
Dead/dying leaves can become one of the best composts for your garden, and autumn is full of falling leaves in your garden! Using a dedicated leafmould composter can be advantageous as having mesh sides built in allows the leaves to become aerated and decompose quicker. This rich compost can be created in 6-8 months and can be used as potting compost as well as a rich soil enhancer. Imagine starting this project in October/November and having a fantastic compost by May/June when you really need it. Just make sure you shred your leaves first and scatter with water if you need leafmould in a shorter time.
In autumn, we rarely cut our lawns but into the spring and summer months, this chore can mount up waste. If you regularly cut your lawn and do not have a long lawn very often, grass clippings can be left to decompose and enrich the soil underneath without the need for collecting and composting. If you need to collect lawn clippings, you can compost this down to create a brilliant enricher. Any domestic herbicides that have been used on your grass will accelerate the composting process and will not harm fruit and veg when eventually used to help them grow. Although, herbicides used on an industrial level on golf courses, football pitches and farms are possibly dangerous to use on plants, so it is best to avoid composting this sort of grass if it has been treated. You can use this grass as a mulch under non-fruit bearing trees and hedges.
When putting grass into a composter, it is best to toss the clippings around as a thick layer of grass will slow down the composting process and will make your compost very wet. If you use a hot composter, you can add shredded leaves to the mix and cut down the time needed to create garden fertiliser.
Tree Branches & Hedge Trimmings
Every so often we need to trim our trees, even in autumn/winter, which can cause an issue if you are deciding to not have your garden waste picked up by the council as it can be hard to dispose of a material this tough. If you cut branches and hedge trimmings you can turn these into mulch to keep soil underneath damp through the hotter months. Alternatively, you can add these cuttings into your compost bin and mix it in with the rest of your garden waste.
Tree branches can also be used as a refuge for wildlife during the harsher months. When stacked properly, bugs, hedgehogs and other creatures can use this space to hibernate or live away from the snow and ice.
Some branches and hedge trimmings can be saved and used in fire-pits, chimeneas and stoves in the summer or in the autumn to create a cosy area in the garden, or smoking areas in pubs and restaurants. Add these to proper wood fuel and relax while listening to the crackling of the fire, just make sure the wood is dry before you add it in.
Composting may be the easiest and most sustainable way to dispose of your garden waste but creating a mulch for the summer months is just as important. Avid gardeners and novices alike spend some of the autumn/winter period preparing for the summer months as any work done now means your yield will be more fruitful and you can rest easy knowing you have saved yourself money on buying compost and not paying for the waste pick-up.
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