When talking about being more environmentally friendly around the house, people often refer to the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. The idea of course is to cut down on the amount of waste you produce, directly reuse whatever you can, and recycle the rest.
In the garden all of those things still apply, but for an even greener garden, there are a couple more Rs to add to the list, as we’ll see in more detail below.
As always, cutting down on garden waste is the best possible start, as it means there’s less to worry about getting rid of in an eco-friendly way.
You can reduce gardening waste by choosing more reusable materials, for example traditional terracotta plant pots instead of cheap disposable plastic ones, and your garden will look more natural and cared for as a result.
A lot of garden waste is quickly biodegradable, so you can reduce the amount you throw away by starting a compost heap or even a compost bin that only takes up a wheelie bin sized footprint in smaller gardens.
It’s not just about choosing materials that are easier to reuse; it’s also about reusing as much as you can throughout the year as you tend to your grass, plants or the fixtures and fittings in your garden.
That might mean saving old lengths of twine or wire to wrap around new growth and old stakes or canes to support new plants.
It can be incredibly satisfying to reuse old supplies in this way – it’s all part of the circle of life and those same trusty old sticks and bits of string could see you through many a season.
Be creative about how you reuse things around the garden. A broken wheelbarrow or leaky watering can makes a quirky yet traditional planter for a few bedding plants or wildflowers.
A garden waste bin can be adapted to work as a compost bin, so you get the benefit of using the compost you produce on your own garden instead of giving it to the council for free.
You can also get larger 660 litre and 1100 litre metal wheelie bins from suppliers like Wheelie Bin Solutions – if you’re not a fan of plastic, you can get durable metal bins that can be repurposed as secure tool storage and most passing opportunistic thieves will never suspect that there are valuables hidden inside.
When something breaks, don’t just throw it away. Often in the garden it’s easier to repair items as a bit of patching up can be easier to hide or may even add to the rustic charm of the piece.
Old benches might just need one new piece of wood, leaky containers can be patched and all kinds of holes and cracks can be filled with eco-friendly outdoor fillers.
If you can’t reuse or repair something, and you can’t find a different way to breathe new life into it, then it’s finally time to bin it, and sometimes this can’t be avoided.
The most important thing is to dispose of it ethically – there’s all kinds of recycling bins available, and if your council doesn’t provide a particular type of wheelie bin for recycling, you can buy your own online.
Make good use of your council recycling collections and if there’s anything that can be recycled but isn’t regularly collected, find out if there’s a private organisation in your area running their own collections either for the environment or to sell the valuable recyclables on.
Stick to the five Rs and your garden will thank you for it with more natural materials and rustic reused items, all while helping the wider environment in your local area too.