The 17– 23 August marks the observance of Keep Australia Beautiful Week – which makes it the perfect time to consider how you dispose of green waste. This year’s theme for the week is “Litter: Prevent the spread” – a theme that NuGrow wholeheartedly supports with our circular economy philosophy.
Widespread population growth has prompted unsustainable rates of waste production and disposal in Australia, leading to a diverse range of environmental impacts. And green waste takes up a considerable proportion of the total amount of waste generated in Australia each year. While it may seem that green waste mightn’t require as much attention and effort as other types of waste, it actually requires careful management to prevent negative environmental consequences.
What is green waste?
Green waste is biodegradable waste generated from your garden. It consists of organic materials that can decompose over time, and can include:
- Grass clippings
- Tree branches, twigs or tree prunings
- Old tree stumps
- Unwanted indoor plants
- Timber waste (treated or untreated wood)
- Timber pallets
Why do we need to recycle green waste?
In nature, organisms such as bacteria, fungi, worms, termites, beetles and plants carry out the job of recycling green waste. In the absence of this natural process, green waste becomes our responsibility – and it’s one that many of us are dealing with inadequately. Green waste and food waste make up around 50% of typical household rubbish – of which almost half ends up unrecycled in landfill.
When green waste is dumped in landfill, it eventually breaks down anaerobically, releasing methane and other greenhouse gases into the environment. These gases have a staggering global warming potential that is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. As well, the process also produces leachate (highly toxic liquid that drains from landfill). Leachate is a huge environmental concern, as it cannot be safely discharged into the water without first being treated. Leachate generation is a major problem associated with landfill, and poses a significant threat to groundwater and surface water if not contained. Dumping green waste in landfill is not only harmful for the environment, it’s also harmful for us.
The wrong way of dealing with green waste
Dumping green waste in waterways or bushland is unfortunately very common, as many people think dumping natural material won’t harm the environment. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Dumping green waste inappropriately can lead to:
- Increased nutrient loads in waterways, thus causing fish deaths and toxic algae blooms
- Increased bushfire risk, due to greater fuel loads in bushland areas
- The potential for pests, diseases and weeds to invade native bush areas
- Increased vermin issues, as the rubbish can serve as a breeding ground for mice and rats
- The potential for increased flooding due to blocked drains and pipes
- The destruction of natural beauty and appeal
The best way of dealing with green waste
The best way of dealing with green waste is to recycle it. Once green waste has been collected, it can then be converted into a wide range of high-quality soil conditioning products for use in agriculture, landscaping and horticulture. These include:
- Blended soils
- Soil conditioners
- Potting mixes
These products improve the structure of soil, help it to better retain nutrients and water, and support beneficial soil organisms which aid plant growth. They help plants develop deeper root systems, improve crop yields and pastures, and reduce the potential for plants to develop soil-borne diseases. As well, use of these natural, recycled products reduces the need for synthetic fertiliser and pesticide use.
This is where NuGrow comes in. NuGrow’s waste recycling facilities are a highly effective alternative to traditional waste management and a solution to the problem of green waste disposal. NuGrow is Queensland’s largest organics waste recycler by volume and geographical reach – something of which we are justifiably proud. NuGrow’s operations convert a diverse range of organic waste into beneficial products, such as high-grade compost and soil.
NuGrow’s green waste recycling services are ideal for local governments, civil contractors, and providers managing land clearing and rehabilitation projects. We can accept all green waste mediums (including heat-treated and untreated timbers) via delivery to our waste recycling facilities, or by conducting on-site grinding and removal. These services tie in closely with NuGrow’s emphasis on a circular economy. Green waste is recycled into useful products, which are then channelled back into the agriculture and landscape industries. This helps make a more sustainable future possible.
NuGrow remains committed to raising awareness of sustainable waste management strategies, and will continue to play our part in helping to “keep Australia beautiful”.
For more information about NuGrow’s green waste recycling services, get in touch with our team today.