Can I Burn Garden Waste In My Garden? Read Here!

Written By James
Updated May 16, 2021 by James

Can I Burn Garden Waste In My Garden? Read Here!

Can I burn garden waste in my garden? It might seem like a silly question, but many people ask this question. The answer is yes and no. You can only do it if you have a permit to burn the material.

Can I burn garden waste in my yard without a permit?

You can, but you risk getting fined or sentenced to jail time if it is not allowed.

So, what does that mean? Let's take a closer look!

People have been burning garden waste for as long as gardens have been around. Back in the day, the garden was a place for growing food, and so garden waste was generally food waste: bagged leaves, spent fruit and vegetable plants, and any other organic matter was often used as garden compost.

However, garden waste is more often than not garden waste these days, and it is not recommended to burn garden waste in your garden as it is not cost effective and, in some places, it may be illegal.

The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) does not recommend garden burning because it uses energy and resources (like water and air quality) that could be otherwise conserved.

Arguments Against Burning Yard Waste

  • It can create a fire hazard
  • Burning yard waste releases toxins into the air that are harmful for people and pets living nearby
  • When materials used to burn, they release toxic substances. These include black carbon which contribute to climate change among other things
  • If you want your yard clean then consider burning your garden waste. However if this isn't allowed in your area don't do it or else you will be fined or sentenced to jail time.
  • Yard waste can be dangerous to our environment because it contains chemicals and toxins that pollute the air, soil and water around it if burned or left in an unprotected area for too long.
  • The smoke created from burning these types of organic matter has proven to contain toxic substances which are harmful for human health. Leaves decompose naturally so why would you want to burn them?
  • It's not environmentally friendly at all. The smoke released when yard waste is burnt creates black carbon emissions that contribute climate change among other things like respiratory diseases due to the high amounts of particulate matter.
  • When you burn yard waste, it becomes ash and usually leaves behind small pieces that are difficult for the air pollution control district in some states to clean up because they're so fine.

Best Practice Guidelines On Burning Backyard Waste

The EPA recommends using a metal container with a lid for burning yard waste in.

Burning should be done on days when the air is very dry to decrease the effects of smoke pollution.

We recommend that you use only clean, dried organic material.

This rule applies to any type of materials like leaves, tree branches, and brush. Do not burn household garbage or plastic containers because they will release toxic chemicals into your backyard!

A small pile can take between one and two hours to completely break down depending on its size. It's best to stack them at least six feet high before setting it up. This allows oxygen flow throughout the process while also reducing fire hazards from windy conditions. You can also use a metal container with a lid for burning yard waste in.

When it's time to clean up, make sure you have plenty of cardboard and some burlap bags handy. Use the cardboard and wetted burlap to pick up any leftover ash that may be left by your fire pit or burn barrel.

The final step is always make sure you put your trash can back near its original location so people don't know what happened when they come across it!

Know Your County's Rules For Burning

Before you start burning, make sure that your county's rules allow for it. For example, in Tennessee, the only location where backyard debris can be burned is on a structure with an open top and approved chimney or ventilator. You must also have a permit from your local fire marshal.

It is a common saying that one man's junk is another man's treasure. This saying certainly applies to the garden as well. While you might see your old bicycle as an outdated piece of junk, your neighbour might see it as a great way to get rid of garden waste.

Garden waste is one of the main causes of pollution and can be toxic to the environment. It is important to separate your garden waste and recycle it in a way that will benefit both you and the environment.

What can I burn?

When deciding what to burn in your garden, the first thing you should consider is what type of garden you have. For example, if you have a vegetable garden, you should not burn any type of construction waste in that garden.

This is extremely bad for the plants and the soil in your garden. Instead, you should use things like leaves, hedge clippings and twigs.

If you have a flower garden, you can burn almost anything. It is not recommended that you use anything treated with pesticides or chemicals, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you are using your own waste in your garden.

You can burn brush, leaves, yard clippings and woody materials like branches less than two inches thick as long as they are not chemically treated.

What Can't Be Burned?

You can't leave household trash in your backyard for burning.

This includes anything that was inside the house including paper products like cardboard boxes and books made out of any kind of coated materials such as cloth or leather without removing these items beforehand; fluorescent lights; painted or treated wood; any combustible material that will not burn completely, such as shoes with rubber soles, plastic toys and plastics.

You also can't dispose of hazardous waste by burning it because this poses environmental hazards to both humans and animals.

Alternatives To Burning Yard Waste

There are many alternatives that do not require a fire for energy generation. You can use your yard clippings as mulch or compost instead of using them as fuel for combustion and polluting the air with particulates from smoke stacks.

Burning leaves might sound like an easy solution but they produce lots of smoke which makes carbon monoxide concentrations increase inside homes if there isn't good ventilation through open windows or fans running outside to suck away fumes before they enter living spaces.

If you absolutely must burn something then make sure its dry wood only because wet materials will create heavy smoke. You can burn leaves as long as they are completely dry, but the smoke will be more dense and not smell so great.

Use Council Bins and Waste Collection Services

Burning garden waste is not the best idea for air quality. You can minimize pollution by using council bins and waste collection services where available. The smoke from burning will be more dense, and it's very possible that your neighbors may smell this too!

Use a Shredder / Chipper for Garden Waste

Another way to get rid of garden waste is to shred it or chip it. A chipper will grind the material into tiny pieces so they can be turned back into soil, and a shredder will cut them up with metal blades for you.

These machines are great because they reduce your environmental impact by ensuring that no organic matter goes down the drain or ends up in landfill sites. There's still some smoke from these processes but not as much as burning!

Start Composting Food and Garden Shredding

If you can't get your hands on a shredder or chipper, composting is another option. Food waste such as vegetable peelings and meat scraps will decompose into rich compost over time if they're placed in a sealed container with some soil, water, and microbes!

Garden waste such as clippings can be thrown right in too. The mixture should then be turned every few days to avoid the air becoming toxic from bacteria releasing noxious gases.

The compost can then be used to fertilize your plants or even as a soil conditioner in the garden. It will also release nutrients into the ground, which feeds earthworms and other critters that aerate the soil for plant roots. Composting has many benefits and is easy on your wallet too!

It's important not to compost any animal products such as meat, fish, dairy or eggs because they attract pests such as rats and flies.

These items should go straight into an organic bin instead of being buried with food waste! If you do end up throwing these types of scraps in with regular kitchen scraps it won't harm anything but it might put off some neighbors who are sensitive to smells from rotting foods.

Use Your Local Tips and Recycling Centres

It can be hard to know where your local recycling centres are located, but they're in most towns and cities.

If you do a quick Google search for "recycling centre" or "solid waste disposal site", the one closest to you will pop up on the map! You might also want to check with your city's government office if these services aren't listed online.

You can recycle metal (i.e., cans), plastic bottles (#PETE) and plastics such as #HDPEs found in certain types of packaging like yogurt containers, milk cartons, detergent bottles etc.; various paper products including magazines, newspapers and flattened cardboard boxes; glass items such as wine glasses that have been emptied out - just make sure the glass has been washed and dried before recycling.

You can also use compostable items like leaves, grass clippings, garden plants that are dead or diseased.

It is not recommended to recycle food waste because it can attract pests such as rodents and flies; paper towels which will only produce a wet pulp when you put it on the pile of other materials; any plastic containers with lids such as yogurt pots - these have to be thrown in your rubbish bin where they'll be taken away for proper disposal.

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James

My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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