August 19, 2008

Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Your Garden Clippings

By Darren Smith

HIGH summer is here and if you have a garden, you probably have to cut the lawn and trim the plants regularly.

Ornamental lawns can be cut every three days in rapid growth conditions.

Your average family lawn should be cut about once a week. It all adds up to a lot of grass and plant material that has to be disposed of.

Of course, you can home compost, but this is not possible for some either through space or skill constraints.

Compost making can be a bit of a "dark art" - some people seem able to succeed and some always fail.

Even those with a compost bin can be overwhelmed by the amount of material being produced by the garden.

And some material is difficult for the gardener to compost - grass clippings, woody stems and leaves are particularly difficult.

Help is at hand at your local household waste recycling site or via a green waste collection from your house (ring your local council to see if this is available for your area).

This collected garden waste is turned into compost, only on an industrial scale.

This means it can cope with wood, grass and other hard-to- compost material.

Unlike the garden compost pile that may have to stand for a year or more before it is usable, Premier processes the material to make it compost faster.

By chipping it down to a smaller size, putting it into a large pile and using a special machine to turn the material regularly, we help the compost generate much more heat (the heat comes from the natural breakdown of the material - we add no artificial heat, microbes or mechanism).

This means that we can produce compost in about six weeks.

Please remember to include only organic garden waste in your material - no rubber gloves, footballs, garden chemicals or plastic bags.

Please empty the plant material into the collection skips and dispose of or re-use the bags you've transported the material in.


THE aim of composting is to return to the soil the nutrients and energy locked up in plants.

It is a very powerful form of recycling that is often overlooked in the drive to recycle paper, glass, metal, and other materials.

Garden waste is a significant portion of the average bin load. Removing it from landfill not only helps local authorities to meet their targets, it also removes the climate change and pollution risk of putting the material in landfill.

On average each person in the UK produces more than 500kg of rubbish per year.

A heavy and ecologically damaging part of that waste is the clippings from the garden.

This organic material once it is in landfill becomes a feeding ground for anaerobic bacteria that produce methane, which despite best efforts to capture it will leak into the atmosphere.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, about 22 times worse than carbon dioxide.

If the garden material is burnt, then it immediately releases carbon dioxide into the air, again aggravating global warming.


WE have a long and successful history with composting source segregated plant material.

This form of composting allows anyone and everyone to be involved in composting; even people who have no room to have a compost bin or lack the green fingers to compost.

Our compost is made from parks and garden clippings (shrubs, flowers, hedge, trees and lawn cuttings) that are either collected by staff of the local authority, or direct from households or household recycling sites.

The plant material comes from local authorities in the North East (mainly County Durham).

The material is source-separated. This means it has been collected and stored separately from the general rubbish people put into their black bins. It does not include kitchen waste or other food waste.

Premier Waste has produced a poster for schools to show the composting process.

If you or your school would like a free poster showing the process, email your details to [email protected] and put the words "compost poster" in the title line.


MAKING compost is a bit of an art, so don't be afraid to get some help.

You can find more information about composting and links to loads more sites that offer free advice at Look for Composting Advice in the Quick Links section of the home page.

You can home compost but this is not possible for some through space or skill constraints

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