If the thought that’s keeping you warm through these winter months is looking forward to getting back into your garden, you’re surely not alone.
We’ve shared many stories that tout the benefits of gardening, not only for the gardeners’ overall health but for the health of our natural ecosystems and biodiversity. What would make your garden even more beneficial to the planet is if it were zero waste.
Here are some tips to help you achieve the zero-waste garden of your dreams.
Refuse to contribute to damaging systems
What we choose to buy and consume usually comes at a cost, so limiting our personal impact by seriously considering what we bring into our homes and gardens can really make a difference.
Gardeners can inadvertently contribute to damaging systems by buying products that are comprised of or wrapped up in plastic when there are other eco-friendly materials on the market that would be just as good.
Instead of buying seeds or plants in plastic packaging or pots, try collecting your own seeds or propagating your own plants from cuttings, or simply researching different suppliers who offer gardening products made from plastic alternatives.
The use of peat as a growing medium is also common amongst gardeners, however, choosing to use peat in your garden means that you’re contributing to the destruction of peat bogs which are important carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots. Instead, you can opt for a peat-free alternative or make your own compost at home.
Making small adjustments by refusing to participate in systems that are not good for our environment is the first step in becoming a zero-waste gardener.
Reduce consumption by growing your own
Being a zero-waste gardener isn’t just about what you’re buying, but how your garden helps you consume less in general.
As a gardener, you can use your skills to grow many basic foods and herbs for eating, along with materials for construction, crafting, and cleaning that you would otherwise have to purchase. Choosing to invest in practical plants means relying less on systems that are inherently wasteful and exploitative.
Reuse household items and reclaim materials
There will probably be instances when you cannot source natural materials to get something done in your garden, however, buying something new should always be a last resort. Instead, embrace second-hand items and reclaimed materials. Make use of household waste like toilet roll tubes or food packaging in your garden, get creative by finding new ways to use old items for as long as possible.
Repair people, items, and ecosystems
Don’t give up on a broken item right away by replacing it with a new one. If you learn to repair things such as tools or equipment, it’ll bring you closer to being a zero-waste gardener.
However, it’s not just tools that can go to waste if they’re not repaired; people can also be wasteful of their own time, energy, and talents. A garden is a wonderful resource that can be used to make the most of all of these things—a garden is known to be a place of healing, and it requires the attention and effort of those taking care of it. Gardening is a great way to help people realize and live up to their potential.
Recycle nutrients and other resources within the garden system
Recycling is a huge factor in the zero-waste movement. Firstly, composting food waste and other biodegradable materials can help you make organic liquid plant feeds that use recycled nutrients and create a closed-loop system within the garden.
You can also recycle water by replenishing groundwater sources, collecting rainwater, and simply being wise with the water usage in your garden.