What To Do With Garden Waste UK – Removal & Recycle Options 

By  Enda

If you listen to any gardener worth their salt, then they will tell you, that there is no such thing as garden waste. For mere mortals like me, then I certainly beg to differ. I do understand why many people love their gardens. I love mine as well, but I have no intention or desire to become UK gardener of the year.

I have seen many people turn grass cuttings and hedge clippings into compost. I am not however one of those people. That is probably because I am lazy, or more honestly, just don't have the time to do tasks of this nature.

If I get some time at the weekend, or in the late summer evenings, then I will cut the hedges and mow the lawns. I may also have some time to do a bit of weeding along the borders, and in the flower beds.

Like many other people, I will then dispose of any waste in the recycle bin. Often, and especially early on in the garden season, my bin can quickly fill up, and I have to do a bit of pushing and shoving to make all the garden waste fit in.

Over the years, I have found a few ways to make life a bit easier, and I would like to share those tips with the readers on my website. So let's have a look at those right now, where I have included five of my best tips on what to do with garden waste.

What Most People Do With Their Garden Waste

large garden waste bags

I, like many other people get rid of much waste as I can by sending them off in the green or brown council bin. If there is too much of it, I will stack it up in a pile behind the garage, and eventually bag up and drive the waste to the tip, or as it is now known, the recycling centre.

My other choice is to check the neighbour's washing line. If those look to be clothes free, then I will risk burning as much as I can, before the smoke gets too much.

Needless to say this is not the best way to get rid of waste, but it is certainly the quickest method. It is also clearly bad for the environment.

Tip 1 - Using a Garden Shredder to Reduce Waste

top rated garden shredders

I did eventually buy a garden shredder. This was never top of my list until I saw my brother using his. With one of those, I can get the bulky waste, like branches, twigs and even weeds chopped down into smaller amounts.

That makes it easier to dispose off in my garden waste bin, and as the waste is a lot smaller it stops me from having to pile waste at the back of the garden.

There are two main types of these garden shredders available, which are ones with a simply blade chopping action, and then the more expensive burr style shredders. 

The one that you pick will come down to how much waste that you typically have in your garden. The cheaper blade one suited me really well, as primarily I only use that for hedge cuttings. Those are not that tough and a basic blade shredder does a very good job.

If I had larger trees or large shrub branches, I would definitely opt for a burr shredder, as they work much better, and can shred the heavy garden waste.

Click Here to Read More About Garden Shredders Using My Buying Guide

Tip 2 - Burning Garden Waste

incinerator for garden waste

Another alternative is of course to burn rubbish and waste, in what is known as a waste burner. These type of incinerators are a bit more crude than a shredder, but they do get the job done.

May home owners use this type of burning bin for leaves, branches, cardboard and paper. They will also use this for burning private documents like bank statements and other sensitive information, that they don't want to just throw in the bin.

There are plenty of these on the market, and they cost around £20-25, so not a huge expenditure. Many people in the UK have turned to these when their bin services have been reduced in terms of frequency of pick up.

It is basically a glorified dustbin, but it has been reinforced to be able to with stand the heat. One of these bins will last a long time as they are built to last.

The smoke is controlled through a small vertical chimney, though just be aware there is still quite a bit of smoke from these.

Tip 3 - Making Compost Using Garden Waste

compost making

The options to make garden compost from your garden waste does remain the most popular choice for most gardeners. Compost as you know simply helps plants and vegetables grow.

Compost is expensive enough to buy, and that is why many gardeners simply make their own.

UK gardeners will mainly use all garden, and most kitchen waste to make a compost heap. That over time can be then used for digging into borders and beds and can also be used as a mulch.

That is by quite a distance, the best way to get rid of garden waste. In simple terms it is being re-used for a whole variety of gardening purposes.

It is certainly the best method for the environment. Gardeners typically make their own home made container for their compost heap. You can however buy these compost makers in the form of bins or crates.

There are a few different types of compost makers on the UK market. There is the simple plastic bin, and a basic one will hold around 300 litres of garden waste, and this type of bin costs around £40.

If you want something that is a little easier to use, then many gardeners will go for what is called a "tumbling composter." These are typically a bin, that can be rolled to help mix up the waste and get air into the waste to make the compost.

These are a little more expensive than a standard compost bin, and they can cost anything between £60-250, depending on the size and type.

It is a practical and more efficient way for most gardeners to have a source of compost, than to have something that is more open and unsightly, such as a compost heap.

Composting is a great way to make use of fruit and vegetable scraps, grass cuttings, dried leaves, crushed egg shells, coffee grounds and more.

The benefit of using a designed compost bin is to transform the waste into compost without filling your garden with a horrible, decomposing smell.

Tip 4 - Gardeners Waste Bags

large garden waste bags

I have noticed quite a few people at the local recycle plant, who will arrive with a large bag full of garden waste. These are basically large refuse sacks with handles that are made from heavy duty plastic.

You simply fill these up with garden waste, put them into the boot of the car, or a trailer and then take them and empty them at the recycle centre. These are not that expensive, and they range in price from around £7-15 depending on the quality of the waste bag.

Rather than trying to put a bin in your car, or tie up bundles of twigs and branches, these allow you to quickly transport garden waste from the garden to the recycling centre.

Tip 5 - Gardeners and Landscapers

People with busy lifestyles may also use the services of a gardener, or some type of landscaping service. Firms or individuals who do this, will almost always take the waste away in a trailer or lorry.

They will then dispose of this waste at a recycling centre. It can be expensive but if you are busy, then it is one less thing for you to do. The one tip that we would offer here is to make sure that any charges they have include the disposal of the waste.

You can still keep your lawns and gardens looking very tidy, as long as you can afford the luxury of hiring someone to do the work for you.

Summary & Conclusion

In many ways the amount of garden waste that you have will come down to the size of your garden, and will also depend on what you have growing in it. In the winter the amount of garden waste will always reduce as plants, shrubs etc simply don't grow as much.

Come Spring time, and then your garden starts to become alive. The first couple of cuts will usually be the time when most garden waste is created. That is usually when I see the bins starting to overflow.

Most councils have also heavily reduced the number of times your recycling bin or environmental bin gets emptied. Many councils have also reduced the capacity of these types of bins.

I guess for most people, they will simply put most of the garden waste into their recycling bin. You can usually get most garden waste in there. For bigger branches you can chop those up, and get them in as well.

Personally I prefer a shredder as I have quite a lot of hedges and shrubs. Shredders make short work of those and give me more room in the bin. If you want to take it to the next level, then the very best thing you can do is to try and make compost, though that does have its challenges.

Finally if you are not that close to a recycling centre, or simply can't get to one, then it is worth considering an incinerator of some kind.


I am someone who enjoys a little gardening. Now I am not someone who spend hours in the garden, but I do like both my front and back gardens to look really nice. Well kept lawns, neatly trimmed hedges, and borders filled with plants, make a huge difference, to how your property looks.

Enda McLarnon

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