You plan to mow your lawn but wonder where you will take the resulting grass clippings. While some people dispose of them in landfills or burn them when they have dried up, there are more eco-friendly ways to deal with your grass clippings.
Data from the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that approximately 18% of yard waste goes into landfills. And grass generates about 4.19 % of municipal solid waste in the United States (Source: the United States Environmental Protection Agency)
No wonder many communities are urging lawn owners to recycle grass clippings to protect the environment.
If the question in your mind is how to dispose of grass clippings from your lawn, then this article is for you. We highlight practical ways you can make good use of this waste product and benefit the environment.
If you are interested in exploring Beneficial Things To Do with Grass Clippings After Mowing, I encourage you to read this article where I discuss 6 useful ways.
Tips For Disposing Of Grass Clippings
This section will discuss simple ways to turn grass clippings into a valuable product.
1- Recycle Grass Clippings
Nothing looks simpler like grasscycling; however, it should be done correctly to be effective. Before we dive into how to grasscycle, let’s define this term.
Grasscycling is the practice of leaving grass clipping on the lawn after mowing, allowing them to decay and enrich the soil. So, how can you recycle grass clipping into the yard?
- Ensure the grass is cut to the proper height. You do not want to cut the lawn too short to facilitate evaporation. The rule of thumb is not to cut more than 1/3 of the grasses’ total height. Before you mow the grass, ensure the lawn is four or more inches tall.
- Ensure the blades of the mower are sharp. The purpose of mowing the lawn is to give it a green and attractive look; dull blades will tear the grass instead of cutting, thus leaving brown scars and the leaf tip. This can also create a perfect environment for diseases to thrive.
- Allow the clippings to settle on the soil naturally. If the grass clippings have the appropriate length, they will naturally sink into the ground and decompose. If you notice some grass clippings crowded together, avoid the temptation of picking them up or spreading them across the lawn unless they are longer than 2 inches.
- Water thoroughly. Proper watering helps the grassroots to go deeper and prevent the risk of thatch build-up. However, before watering, ensure the lawn is dry.
- Use a Mulch Mower. One problem with grasscycling is longer grass clippings that could smother the lawn. A Mulch mower can solve this problem since it trims the cut grass into shorter lengths.
- Use a Reel Mower. Pushing a reel mower is good for the environment and your health. You will burn calories and keep fit while maintaining your lawn in good shape.
2- Utilize Yard Waste Collection Services
Most states have legislations that discourage throwing off grass clippings on regular trash containers. You can utilize yard waste containers from the municipal to dispose of your grass clippings. The municipal has an environmentally-friendly way of handling the waste.
You may be charged a fee for using some states’ municipal waste disposal services. So, whenever you want to mow your lawn, contact the local waste collection center and take advantage of their services.
3- Use The Grass Clipping For The Yard Composting
Grass clippings are rich in nitrogen and other essential minerals. And including them in the compost can enhance the value of the resulting manure. When the compost is ready, you can apply it to the garden or lawn for healthier plants and grass.
However, before adding grass clippings to the compost, ensure they are free of herbicides or harmful chemicals. Herbicides sprayed on the lawn can take months before they completely break down; therefore, you should ensure the grass is safe for composting. A compost having grass full of chemicals can damage your crops.
Mix the green grass with soil and other dry leaves to balance the green and brown matter in the compost. This enhances aeration and decomposition; otherwise, the pile of green grass will result in slow and smelly compost.
If you pile green grass in the compost, it can become overly wet and compacted, thus preventing aeration and causing the death of composting microbes.
4- Give Your Grass Clippings To Farmers
Are you surrounded by many farmers? You can contact local farmers and donate your grass clipping to them. Farmers with compost may want your grass clippings to improve the mineral value of their manure.
Local farmers can also use your grass clipping to mulch their crops, so you can sell them to your neighbors or give them out for free.
Local farmers can also use grass clippings as hay to feed their livestock. Furthermore, farmers can use grass clipping to feed pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
Grass clippings can also prevent wildlife from invading your vegetable garden. A farmer can pile them at the edge of the wood near the garden, providing food to the wildlife and deterring them from invading your farm.
5- Donate The Grass Clippings To The Local Gardening Businesses
If your home is near local gardening services like flower gardens, you could ask them if they are interested in grass clippings.
Besides composting, local gardening businesses can utilize grass clippings for mulching, making plant tea, or making garden lasagna.
You might enjoy reading: Is It Okay To Use Grass Clippings As Mulch? (Find out now!)
6- Give The Grass Clippings To Your Friends
If you wonder how to dispose of grass clippings from your lawn, the answer could be your friends. Do your friends have gardens or livestock? Offering them grass clipping could be a welcomed gesture since it will reduce the cost of hay.
They can also use your grass clippings for compost or to mulch their gardens. Therefore, ask around to see if they need your yard waste instead of throwing them away.
7- Utilize The Curbside Pickup Services
If you don’t want o pay for the municipal’s yard waste pickup services, you can take advantage of curbside pickup services for disposal if they are available in your local area.
After mowing your lawn, all you need to do is put the grass trimmings in bags and leave them on the curb with trashcans. On appropriate days, the local Garbage Disposal Services will pick them up.
Therefore, ensure you know the garbage pickup days in your area. You can only place them outside on those days; otherwise, your neighbors will complain of disturbance and litter.
8- Deposit Your Grass Clippings At The Local Disposal Site
The idea of leaving your grass trimmings on the curbside may not be appealing to you. If that is the case, you can contact local disposal sites and request if you can drop your grass clippings with them.
Utilizing local disposal sites helps you to avoid disturbing your neighbors and maintain peace. Remember that some local disposal sites charge a small fee for handling your waste, so come prepared to spend some cash.
Minimize Your Environmental Footprint By Disposing Of Grass Clippings
If you wrongfully dispose of grass clippings, they will end up in landfills and add to your environmental footprint. It is a waste of nutrients and could cause underground water contamination.
Some studies suggest that grass clippings make up to 20% of the solid waste in landfills. with up to 50% of all yard waste being grass clippings. Grass clippings are recyclable and do not require valuable landfill space.
Furthermore, grass clippings represent a surprisingly large portion of California’s solid waste stream, particularly during the growing season (Source: University of California)
However, you can also lower your carbon footprint by properly disposing of your grass trimmings and returning potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous to the soil. Composting grass clippings is probably one of the best ways of grasscycling.
You might also enjoy reading: How Can You Speed Up a Grass Seed Germination?
How Do You Store Grass Clippings?
If you want to use grass clipping for mulching or composting, ensure they are free of herbicides that can harm the freshly growing lawn or crops in the garden. Therefore, if you recently used this chemical on your lawn, ensure you wait for at least 3 mowing before you can store the clippings for mulching or composting.
The intention for harvesting grass clipping is to improve crop or grass productivity, hence the need to use chemical-free grass trimmings.
How Long Does It Really Take For Grass Clippings To Decompose?
Overage, grass clippings take 3 to 4 weeks to decompose when left on your lawn after mowing. However, you can make your grass clippings decompose faster if you leave them where they fall and move over them a second time to break them down more.
Also, try to mow your grass every 5 to 7 days but ensure that too much clipping material does not clump up in the yard, especially for wet grass.
The bottom Line
Mowing your lawn can be fun, but you should know how to dispose of grass clippings after cutting them. If the grass does not have herbicides or other chemicals, you can choose to leave them on the lawn or use them for compost.
You can also use them for mulching, feeding livestock, or donating them to friends and farmers.
Alternatively, you can utilize the curbside pickup services or local disposal site at a fee. Grass clippings have many uses, so instead of collecting and burning them, you put them into good use for the benefit of the environment.