Grasscycling Saves Time and Money
Grasscycling and composting are two techniques residents can use to reduce waste disposal and possible water contamination as well as save time, money and energy while returning valuable nutrients back into lawns and gardens.
Grasscycling means leaving the grass clippings on the lawn. There are many benefits to grass-cycling including:
- Grass clippings are mostly water and nitrogen. They decompose into the grass quickly and return nutrients to the lawn which will result in a greener, healthier lawn.
- Chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, stay on the lawn to do the intended job.
- Grasscycling saves money by reducing gas consumption, lawn bags and fertilizer. By returning clippings to the lawn regularly, you can reduce fertilizer use by one application per season.
- Grasscycling does not require the use of lawn bags because the clippings are not being picked up. With no clippings to bag, less frequent stopping and starting of the lawnmower saves gas and mowing time and reduces air pollution.
Grasscycling must be done correctly to eliminate water pollution. Clippings should be directed back to the lawn. This is especially important when using a side discharge mower. If clippings are left on driveways, sidewalks or other impervious surfaces, they can end up in surface water or drains. These clips will add nutrients to surface water and increase the growth of algae and other aquatic plants that can deplete oxygen in surface waters.
All mower types can be used successfully for grasscycling. To prevent clumps or discharge onto impervious surfaces when using a side discharge mower, mow toward the center of the lawn toward the discharged clippings to re-cut and distribute over the lawn. This will prevent “windrows” from forming on the lawn. Most rear bag mowers have a flap that covers the discharge shoot when the bag is removed. This allows the clippings to drop right down onto the grass. Mulching mowers pull the clips up into the mower so they can be re-cut into smaller pieces before depositing them on the lawn.
Any clips that blow from under the mower onto sidewalks or driveways should be swept or blown back onto the lawn.
When you can’t leave the clips on the lawn, collect grass clippings for use as mulch. Use clippings in a thin (0.5-inch to 1-inch) layer around annual and perennial plantings. Remove all weeds before applying mulch. Grass clippings also can be mixed with shredded leaves and spread around plants.
This article by Michigan State University Extension.
Composting is an easy way to reduce disposal of waste and create a valuable soil additive. You can recycle the natural nutrients and organic materials in food, leaves, paper, yard and wood waste as they would be in nature.
- Guide to Home Composting (PDF)
- Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania
- Home Composting Information from the EPA
Uses for Compost
- Compost can be applied directly around the base of trees and shrubs to serve as a mulch. It also can be worked into the top six to eight inches of the soil to provide increased water retention and valuable nutrients.
What can I put in my recycle bin?
Click on the links above to review updated information on what to put in your recycle bin.
Other Recycle Information
For additional recycling questions, call 1-800-346-4242 or contact your County Recycling Coordinators