Kitchen Garbage In The Compost Pile
Recycling kitchen garbage is more difficult than dealing with grass clippings or leaves. Yardeners often draw the line with kitchen garbage and simply reduce their trash volume to the point where the garbage still goes out to the curb while the leaves and clippings are recycled. At the same time, if you already have a composting operation going, adding the kitchen waste to the system is not terribly complicated once you learn a few rules. See Advanced Composting for details on how to compost your kitchen waste in the compost pile. A compost pile can take care of most waste except the bones and meat products -- those still go to the curb for pickup by the municipality.
Other Ideas For Reusing Yard Waste
While mulching is probably the best way to reuse a significant portion of the yard's waste, there are number of other ideas that may be applicable to your situation.
Wood Chip Paths & Driveways--Homeowners with lots of trees and an all-purpose shredder are able to process a large proportion of their branches and brush into wood chips that can be reused in other ways on the property. In sufficient quantity wood chips are ideal for paths and even driveways. Wood chips make great permanent paths in a raised bed vegetable garden, an inch or two each year eliminating problems with weeds and mud. They also work as paths in heavily traveled areas of lawns that seem to become permanent dirt paths where no grass will grow. Instead of trying and retrying to plant grass in an area where no variety of grass will grow, spread a 2 to 3 inch layer of woodchips to make an attractive path that eliminates the mud that follows every rainfall.
Consider using wood chips on parking areas and driveways rather than paving them over. Wood chips permit rain to soak into the ground where it can be available in the water table, rather than run off down the sewer where it may contribute to flooding problems and be wasted. It is not uncommon for tree trimming companies to give away entire truckloads of fresh shredded wood chips if they are in the neighborhood. Then your own chips can be used as a layer on top of the material provided by the tree company.
Chopped Christmas Trees--Over 40 million Christmas trees are purchased each year in the United States. That, of course, means that every January municipal waste systems must process up to 40 million dry and worthless trees. Instead of burdening the community trash system, reuse those trees in the yard. From January into the spring, convert them to bird feeding stations by hanging fruit, cones filled with peanut butter or suet, containers of bird seed and crusts of bread on their branches for neighborhood birds. Another use is to cut all the boughs off the trunk and use lay them over bulb beds and around acid loving shrubs such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and blueberries. Cut up the trunk into wood for the fireplace. If you have a heavy duty chipper/shredder your tree and those of your neighbors can be turned into organic mulch.
Reusing Garbage As Fertilizer--Kitchen wastes can also be reused. Peelings, husks, seeds and leaves from fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that can be turned into instant fertilizer with the use of a sturdy food blender such as a VitaMix(TM) or heavy duty food processor. Of course these fruit and vegetable trimmings can also be added to compost piles and recycled into compost, but blending them into a puree to pour directly on the soil around plants is an efficient way to reuse these materials. Pour the liquefied kitchen waste around the base of trees and shrubs, or toward the back of the garden bed so it will not be visible. Pureed garbage decomposes very quickly and disappears into the soil with no odors and does not attract rodents. Within days, earthworms will pull whatever is not fully liquefied into the soil so it virtually disappears in less than a week. Spreading this pureed garbage around all parts of the landscape, fertilizes and reuses kitchen waste simultaneously.