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Responsible Landfill?

What materials that we normally throw away could be used less harmfully or even beneficially for a garden beyond the regular quickly compostable waste (for landscaping/drainage etc..)? Can waste paper, wood or glass be safe, if buried deep enough? Are any metals, fabrics or types of plastic ever ok to bury? Apart from structural, local environmental and water quality concerns, are there any other important factors when considering more responsible ways to manage bulk waste?


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,462
    Waste paper, cardboard can be composted. Wool and cotton will rot down eventually. Glass is better sent for reprocessing. I do have some bottles in the bug house, but generally glass which gets broken is a no no in the garden.  I repurpose little Gu  glass ramekins as slug pubs or tea light candle holders
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531
    First try Freecycle and Freegle.  There are usually people wanting firewood, winemakers wanting bottles, and jammers and picklers wanting screwtop jars. Anything that's ever been alive is biodegradeable so wool, cotton, silk, leather and wood can be buried in the garden.  First remove plastic or metal fastenings and synthetic linings.  But before you do that, have a chat with a local charity shop about textiles.  Some of them will accept unsaleable clothing, household linen etc which can be passed on to the "rag man" for a small sum of money.  
  • londonstanlondonstan Posts: 13
    I'm completely in favour of all of those things. I am however worried that many recycling operations are not above board (sending to third world countries) it being a highly profitable industry and other times when sources of recycleablable material are not acceptable be cause they are dirty etc... The question is specifically about what and how (and if) we can safely return materials to the earth and take personal responsiblity for it happening when recylcing is not an option for whatever reason. Maybe the answer is a complete no, but I prefer whenever possible to take direct responsibility for fixing issues I have personally created.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,855
    It's a tough question to answer but always start by thinking about reduce, reuse, recycle before sending anything to landfill. If you can tackle waste by not producing it in the first place then that has to be the best way to deal with it. Similarly if you reuse some plastics in the garden it actually makes it harder or impossible to recycle them when their usable life is finished.

    The thing about non-recycleable waste now is knowing where your stuff is going and what is done with it. A lot of it here goes to be incinerated at a waste to energy plant so if it can be burned for fuel then maybe it's better going there than being used or buried in your garden.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • londonstanlondonstan Posts: 13
    Good points. I know there are plants that are good at breaking waste products down too. Given combustion typically increases the toxicitity of compound materials so I think I prefer composting/responsible landfill. We have a lot to do on the packaging front, but for the huge volume of non-recycleable materials we have today, I think we have take care not to just push the problem around. Also, plants don't ask for pay rises.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,137
    londonstan said:I prefer whenever possible to take direct responsibility for fixing issues I have personally created.
    This is the best line I have seen written for a long time,  we cannot change the whole worlds attitude to rubbish, and to keep thinking about that only distresses people, (or is that just me?). the best we can all do is just correct our own faults regarding waste. 
    To save one ......etc. 

    @londonstan. Welcome to the site, I think you will be a much loved member. 😘
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • londonstanlondonstan Posts: 13
    The big money will move to the right places soon, given the amount of public pressure and the obviously crumby state of affairs in the world. I for one would love to see (quiet) flying electric cars, returnable packaging and a lot more nature and sustainable/restorative gardening. In the meantime I think we should act as protoypes for change in our own ways even if it means some sacrifices. Also, I also like to bring up the subject of recyling/sustainablity in conversations even when the connection is highly tenuous, much to peoples amusement/annoyance which I realise I have done here, for which I apologise.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,137
    Nothing wrong with bringing the subject up in conversation, but don’t get to erm.... full of yourself, for want of a better phrase, I think most people do their best,   at the moment, I think disposal of rubbish is one of the lesser things to worry about, air pollution being the first, a lot of people don’t agree with me but I think it’s also due to over population, too many people, too many cars, too many aeroplane flights, ship journeys all to meet the desires of the masses of people. Whether it be importing ‘stuff’ or holidaying here there and everywhere.
    Lots of problems going on in the world,   My son In law  always says that every generation has it problems and the worlds still turning.  Forever the optimist he is😀
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,214
    My daughter recently cancelled her regular order of disposable nappies to use biodegradable ones instead only to discover that her local council incinerates all the residual rubbish so it doesn't make any difference what kind of nappies you use.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,137
    I always used Terry nappies for mine, then passed them on to my cousin when she had hers, I think, in all they did for 4 babies. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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