If you have a lawn you will know only too well just how much grass cuttings it generates over the course of a year. This raises the question as to what to do about it?
Do you ask your gardener maintenance provider to take it way?
Under the Environmental Protection Act, businesses have a 'Duty of Care' to ensure that any waste they produce is handled safely and within the law. Commercial waste is classified as 'controlled waste'.
The duty applies to businesses who produce, store, transport, treat or dispose of controlled waste.
Companies have a duty to ensure that waste is managed properly, recovered or disposed of safely, does not cause harm to human health or pollution of the environment and is only transferred to someone who is authorised to receive it (e.g. suitably licensed/permitted waste contractor or waste management site).
The duty of care requires businesses to keep documentary evidence of their waste management and potentially requires environmental permits depending on quantities, types of wastes produced and how they are managed by the business.
Businesses therefore have to pay to dispose your green waste at a registered TransferStation.
This of course all cost money, time taken to travel to and from the Transfer Station, fuel, wear and tear on the vehicle, etc. it isn’t unusual for a contractor to spend 10 minutes waiting to go on the weighbridge and complete the paperwork and then another 10 – 20 minutes unloading etc.
Around trip is therefore probably in the region of an hour. On top of the time involved, green waste disposal is charged by weight. There is of course a minimum charge typically around £25 and depending upon the transfer station the charge per tonne can be from £30 to over a £100 depending upon location. There does appear to be a vast regional difference. As an average I would suggest £60 per tonne is about the norm.
So if we assume that your contractor undertakes 15 gardens a day and generates a total of one tonne of waste, an hour to dispose of it would be fair to assume that it has cost them in the region of £100 for a two man team or approx. £6.66 per client.
Most gardens do not contain enough organic material and is expensive to purchase from garden centres. Applying compost to your soil provides an excellent conditioner which fertilises and provides soil structure. Man-made compost is an alternative to the peat-based compost extracted from important natural wildlife sites. (Ninety-four per cent of theUK’s lowland peatbogs have been damaged or destroyed).
However, adding large quantities of grass to your compost bin normally results in a smelly, slimy mass!
Grass therefore needs to be balanced with other materials. If you have insufficient green waste to mix with the grass cuttings consider layering torn up cardboard in-between the layers of the grass. This approach is more commonly referred to as 'grass-boarding'.
If you made leaf mould in the winter months then you can always mix the grasscuttings to the leaves throughout the following summer months. This will help speed up the breakdown of the leaves and increase the nutrient content.
Another “green” alternative is to use small volumes of the grass cuttings to mulch your plants beds – however I am not a great fan of using this approach and perhaps the best option would be to use in your bean trench but you can only grow so many runner beans! Another option would be to use the cuttings to “earth up” you potatoes. Ask anyone who has an allotment and they will tell you a 100 things to do with grass cuttings.
If you want use fresh grass cuttings as a mulch, I would suggest putting no more than 3 or 4 inches of cuttings on top of the soil and then add an inch at a time and allowed to dry out before the next batch is added, this will form a good weed barrier, however be mindful of using grass cuttings that have “gone to seed”.
Leave it on your lawn?
By mulching (using a mulching mower) will add nutrients to the soil, and provided you mow regularly is should not increase the amount of thatch in your lawn. Fine grasscuttings decompose rapidly and help to fertilise the lawn.
However only mulch your lawn during the warmer months and I would suggest cutting your grass about half an inch longer than if cutting and collecting the clippings. Some people watering their lawns after it has been mulched as this helps the clippings settle better and speeds up decomposition.
Fillup the local council supplied “green bin” for fortnightly collection?
Councils are now more actively encouraging householders to recycle their own green waste– This is normally free of charge for the collection and disposal. When you think that councils land fill about 25% of green waste that should be recycled you can see why plus they get free compost for their park and gardens or sell it back to you!
Grass cuttings aren’t the easiest material to deal with, but with a bit of effort you can still have a great looking lawn and a free source of organic soil improver. Composting does requires a bit of an effort but shouldn’t be seen as a daunting task – there is a wealth of helpful information on the web or ask your garden maintenance provider for help and advice.
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