Soon, warmer weather will arrive, which means you need to plan your spring cleaning. You decide which household items you don’t need, and then you take a look at your yard. Thanks to Florida’s warm winters, it still looks fairly green. However, you know that that fad ed greenness will explode into vibrant new growth once spring arrives. You have to trim everything back before that happens.
You work hard until your yard looks pristine. You’ve pulled any weeds, and you’ve removed any dead branches or foliage. You’ve trimmed, mowed, and pulled until you have a sizeable waste pile sitting on your lawn. What do you do now?
Below, we’ve given you a guide on what you can and can’t do with your yard waste.
What You Shouldn’t Do
You may think of yard waste as harmless because it comes from 100% natural and biodegradable materials. However, it can harm the environment in your area if you don’t dispose of it properly. If you have yard waste to dispose of, do not do the following.
1. Put it in the street or gutter.
Even if your neighborhood has reliable street sweeping services, you shouldn’t put your yard waste in the street. Florida may have a reputation for sunny weather, but spring comes with a flurry of rainstorms. Rain could wash that waste into the gutter before the street sweepers ever get to it.
This may not sound like a problem, but if you have a lot of yard waste, it could quickly clog your gutters and storm drains. This will lead to flooding, which can mean destructive flooding in a heavy rainstorm. To avoid this problem, you have to keep your yard waste out of the street. You have many other disposal options, so you never have to put it in the road.
2. Put it in the trash bin.
This method may not seem like a big deal either. After all, your yard waste will quickly biodegrade in the landfill, right?
Even though this waste will soon break down, it still causes problems in a landfill. Yard waste doesn’t actually biodegrade quickly enough to save the space it occupies in the landfill. And the more yard waste you put in the trash, the more landfills the city has to dig. Yo u also waste perfectly good mulch materials at the same time. Even if you don’t need mulch, dispose of your waste properly so someone else can use it.
What You Should Do
You don’t have to rely on your curb or trash bin for yard waste removal. Use the following strategies instead.
1. Put it in your green bin, if you have one.
Many cities provide residents with a green bin, which they can use for yard or garden waste. If you have one, put your yard waste there. Simply take the bin to the curb on collection day. Since this may happen on a different day than regular trash, call your local waste disposal service to find out.
Keep in mind that some forms of yard waste cannot go into your green bin. These items include:
- Animal waste
- Any actual trash items
- Dirt and rocks
- Fibrous plants, like palm fronds
- Large branches or limbs
You can put any other plant items, including small branches, into your bin.
2. Call your local waste hauling services for pickup.
If you don’t have a green bin, you can still call your local waste disposal service for pickup. The company will know exactly what to d o with your yard waste. They’ll either process it themselves or send it to other entities for use as mulch and other products.
3. Mulch it into your lawn.
You don’t necessarily have to remove your yard waste. You can use it instead. Spread it over your lawn, then use your lawn mower to break it into tiny pieces. The mower and your footsteps will press the waste into the ground, where it will break down and nourish your grass. By the time summer arrives, you’ll have a beautiful, vibrant lawn.
4. Turn it into mulch for your garden.
You can also gather your yard waste into a compost pile. However, before you leave the pile alone, make sure you remove any weed s or diseased plants. These items could infect the rest of the pile, making the soil useless. However, you can add any of the following to y our compost pile:
- Acorns and other seeds, if dead
- Dead plants (including dead weeds, but remove the seeds)
- Grass clippings or thatch
- Pine cones and needles
- Twigs and small branches
You can also add certain kinds of waste from your kitchen, including:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds
Gather all your materials into a pile at least three feet deep, then sprinkle water all over the pile. Don’t soak it, as this could encourage mold. Just go out there every day and sprinkle the pile with water. Check the pile’s temperature to see if it decomposes. It will feel noticeably warmer. Turn the pile once a week to make sure all decomposing items get enough oxygen. You’ll know the pile has turned to mulch once it looks like dirt and no longer feels warm or wet.
These strategies help the environment instead of causing disasters. And if a little of your yard waste blows into the street, don’t worr y. Your neighborhood street sweepers will clear them away in no time. In the meantime, use these tips to keep your area clean.