Did you know that 75% of waste is recyclable, but only 30% of it is recycled? There are many factors to this waste problem, some of it individual and some of it is systemic. Large companies cause the bulk of our waste, while individuals are often too indifferent.
You can play a big part in recycling and cleaning up the environment. It all starts in your own yard. Knowing what, when, where, and how to recycle is important. If you can sort through what you have, it will make it effortless to keep yard waste to a minimum.
1. Salvaging and Yard Sales
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. How much treasure is laying around in your yard? Well, try finding out by holding regular yard sales.
Old tools, yard equipment, and old automobiles are favorites among scrappers and freecycling members. Get the word out and advertise what you have. General “Yard Sale” signs are okay for traditional hand-me-downs, but you may need a better way to reach niche interests, like old car parts.
Try building a quick website with a simple sitebuilder, upload some pictures, and share it on social media. This is a great way to get seen beyond your local neighborhood and safer than Craigslist.
2. Recycling and Donating
When all your junk is either too broken or old to attract buyers elsewhere, turn to recycle them next. If everything is clean or working, you can always donate to local charities. Otherwise, you will need to know how to recycle your yard waste.
3. Waste Management
Call up your local waste management department to find out how to dispose of your yard waste. Waste management should offer pickup service for small to medium-sized yard waste. You will need to schedule this pickup, otherwise, they probably won’t pick it up.
Pickup service is often only certain days out of the month. All yard waste needs to be sorted and divided so that they can pick it up without injury. As an alternative, you can also drop off your waste at designated facilities.
Don’t drop your yard waste off at the nearest dumpster. You could get into big trouble.
4. Rent a Chipper
A wood chipper is an ideal way to manage your yard waste. Research the cost to use a chipper and learn more about the time and money you can save. Hauling away your own yard waste for free comes with a lot of time invested.
The wood chippings also make for great mulch material and landscaping.
5. Private Contractors
If your local waste management department isn’t being very cooperative, you may want to call a professional. They have dedicated teams and equipment that will help you remove yard waste quickly. This is a service mainly used with big construction jobs, but it may be necessary for a yard cleanup that’s past-due.
6. Renting a Truck
If you want to save as much as possible for a big clean up job, you could rent a truck and haul your waste to the nearest facility. If you want to do this, you’ll need to pay attention to what you’re tossing out and where you need to take your waste.
Many people don’t live near a landfill or recycling plant. Consider the travel time when deciding how you’re going to get rid of waste. You’re also subject to laws on hauling your own hazardous materials and securing the payload in the back.
7. Household Hazardous Waste Facilities
Sorting through your yard waste before disposal is extremely important. You need to know what qualifies as hazardous and what doesn’t. The list is long, including paints, glues, medicines, electronics, cleaners, and pest control products.
Sometimes HHW facilities will announce pickup events periodically to draw attention to proper waste disposal. You can drop these items off for free, as opposed to finding a landfill and paying disposal fees.
8. Construction-related Yard Waste Dumping
If you’re building a new house or undergoing renovations, you need to plan for handling yard waste. Scheduled pickups of each category of waste are ideal. Here’s a quick look at how to handle this category of yard waste disposal.
All concrete in small containers, sorted from all other yard waste.
Sort wood for recycling or chipping. Make sure it is pure wood, not laminate.
Cut into strips and place into individual bags. Carpet is easy to dispose of and waste management will pick it up. Recycling is not a realistic solution.
Collect all leftover shingles for recycling. Find salvaging and recycling companies that deal with leftover construction materials.
Siding materials are often the easiest to recycle and resell. Depending on the type and quality, you could simply list them for sale online. For traditional vinyl sidings, look for places like Habitat for Humanity to donate to.
Fixtures and Furniture
If you’re renovating the bathroom or kitchen, try not to destroy the old stuff in the process. Even if it looks ugly to you, there is a need for it somewhere. Old cabinets, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and tiling are all great recycling material.
There are salvage yards and second-hand stores that could use old fixtures. Furniture should always undergo an inspection for damage or pests before donating or reselling.
This is one type of waste that you want to give the most consideration. Large quantities of seemingly cheap metal can return a good amount of money. Aluminum and copper are going to give you the most by-weight.
Steel and brass do well for salvages and recyclers, too. At the very least, you can find someone who will take it off your property for free.
Get Everything Sorted out
As you can see, yard waste dumping requires a bit of planning. You could do like everyone else and shove things in the dumpster. You could also get fined heavily, depending on your jurisdiction.
There are around 20 different industries dedicated to clean up and recycling yard waste. Make sure you know what you have and you should have no issues getting rid of it all. If your hobby, career, or home development produces more waste than you can handle, get into a routine of recycling.
I would create an online calendar with BraveNet to make things a lot easier. Schedule your pick-ups, keep track of recycling incentives, and hold regular yard sales without too much effort. It’s a great way to keep yourself sorted.