30 - 2011

Cleaning out your garden shed the green way

photo by janetmck

The following is a guest post by Kieron Casey.

Summer is approaching and it’s time to get ready to give your garden the sprucing it deserves for the coming months of sunshine. Sadly, your garden shed is a mess with clutter and you can’t find your lawn mower, your hedge trimmers or any of your tools. The time has finally arrived to give your shed the clean out it deserves. It’s not as simple as just getting together your old junk and throwing them in a big trash bin; there are various green protocols you should consider.

Disposing of garden chemicals

Last summer you might have gotten carried away and bought chemicals for your garden of which a huge surplus is piling up in your garage. This could include weed killer, slug pellets, rat poison, timber treatments and more. Note from Cheap: Yikes! Avoid buying these kinds of poisons if at all possible!

Check the back of the packets to make sure they are still effective this year; oftentimes these products degrade and become obsolete in their use in the space of twelve months. If they are indeed of no use get rid of them but do so carefully. Do not pour them down the sink or put them in the garbage. Instead make sure to thoroughly dilute these chemicals to the specified concentration before spraying them onto uncultivated ground. Do not pour the liquids down the drain even when diluted.

Getting rid of chemical containers

Special care should be taken with containers. Rinse three times before pouring the diluted waste onto uncultivated ground. Once this task has been undertaken it is possible to place this container in a standard refuse bin. Do not attempt to recycle the containers no matter how absolute you have been in rinsing out the chemicals. The containers, even when rinsed, risk spreading contamination to other plastics so it is best just to dispose of them.

Paints and solvents that are not needed any more

You painted the garden shed last year but bought too much paint. You’re probably not going to use any of the almost empty tins again and they’re just taking up space. However, do not just throw the tins away even if you believe them to be sealed properly. The best way of getting rid of small quantities of coating is by spreading it out onto an absorbent, like cat litter, which can then be thrown away with regular litter.

Note from Cheap: Our local waste authority recommends leaving water-based latex paints opened, or pouring them onto a paper or pan, so the paint dries – then the dried paint can be disposed of in regular garbage.

Recyclable garden waste

If you do not have a composter, there are other environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of your recyclable garden waste. Contact your local Community Recycling Centre; the waste can be converted to peat and compost at these facilities. Common mistakes made when submitting such wastes include leaving in stones and timber, but these can damage shredding machines which create the compost. Similarly leave out metal and waste such as plastic bags as these cannot be broken down.

Too many tools?

If you’ve been the recipient of a drill or two you do not need at Christmas time then the best thing to do is not let your unused tools rust. Take them down to a charity shop. Your shed will be much less cluttered and you’ll feel great for doing a good deed for charity.

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