Monday, 20 February 2017

Making use of waste

We like finding opportunities to turn waste into something useful.  Why buy something when you can find a suitable free resource? We've talked about how we make compost from the collection of workplace kitchen scraps here, but that's not all we collect for free to use in the garden.

Mulch. All gardeners know the value of mulch in helping to prevent water loss from the soil, suppressing weed growth, and as it breaks down, adding nutrients to the soil.  We have a reasonably sized productive garden and would be spending plenty of money on mulch....if we had to buy it.  But we don't.

A suburb or two away from us is an arborist business. These kind folk leave piles of woody mulch on the naturestrip in front of the business for people to cart away for use in their own gardens.  

We pull up in the car with a bunch of bags and a spade and fill the car with bags of mulch. The bags we use are also recycled from a friend's factory who would otherwise have to throw them out.

Fully loaded car

This woody mulch gets used in the garden to make pathways and suppress weeds.   Before spreading it we mow/pull out most of the main weeds and then cover the ground with thick overlapping layers of newspaper.  The newspapers have been recycled from my workplace for use under the hay bedding in our guinea pig hutch before being used again with the mulch. Double recycling in action!  

Once the layer of newspaper has gone down the mulch goes on top in a nice thick layer. Eventually this woody mulch breaks down and then we move it onto the garden beds....and make another trip to the arborist to load up on some more. 

Woody mulch pathway between garden beds
(bamboo leaf mulch on left bed, grass clippings mulch on right bed)

Suppressing weeds around the beehives 

Weed suppression around the water tanks

 By taking this mulch we are helping the business to deal with what would otherwise be a waste product they'd have to dispose of some other way. In the process we are getting a free source of something that we'd otherwise have to pay for. Everyone wins.

Sometimes we've even done a deal with a local arborist to get a truckload delivered if they happen to be working in our neighbourhood. Bartering some home produce for a truckload of mulch. Seems like a good deal to us 😊

1 comment:

  1. Seems like a good idea to me as well. And building a network of like minded folk - priceless!!