Go Bagless! Sixty per cent of Edmontonians are doing it

It’s a real joy for me to hear that about 60 per cent of Edmonton households leave their grass clippings on the lawn as they mow. You see, many years ago I was a garbage collector and I remember how my fellow collectors and I had to lift thousands and thousands of heavy wet bags of grass into our trucks and dump them all in a rapidly filling landfill. Looking back, I see it as the hardest and smelliest part of the job.

Thankfully though, habits are changing. Since 2005 the City of Edmonton has been actively promoting grasscycling, which simply means, leaving the clippings on the lawn. Since then, lots of progress has been made and we have seen the number of households practicing grasscycling go from about 20 to 60 per cent.

Grasscycling is such a great idea, with so many benefits, it’s truly a wonder it’s taken so long to catch on like it has. First, it creates a healthy lawn. Experts like Jim Hole point out that the clippings act like a little layer of mulch that protects the lawn from the sun and the nutrients in the clippings reduce the need for fertilizer. Second, it’s good for you because it saves you all the time and effort it takes to bag and drag the clippings to the curb. Third, it’s great for your garbage collector who doesn’t have to handle so many heavy bags of grass. And last but not least, it’s a really effective way to reduce waste. Really effective. Did you know that during the summer months grass makes up almost HALF of all the residential waste we produce?

Grasscycling is not only good for you, your lawn, your collector, but it’s also great for the environment and very easy to do. To grasscycle all you have to do is Go Bagless! I mean it, simply remove the bag from your lawn mower and allow the clippings to fall on the lawn. Also, mow often.

Talk about a win-win situation. In this case it’s win-win-win-win. Speaking as a former garbage collector, and as someone who now promotes waste reduction for a living, it’s immensely gratifying to see more and more people grasscycling every year. Can’t wait until we’re all doing it.

If you want to learn more about grasscycling visit LeaveItOnYourLawn.com

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About the Author
Garry Spotowski
Garry's connection with recycling and waste management in Edmonton is deep and, apparently, lifelong. When he was a boy in the 60s, his dad paid him a nickel for each time he took out the garbage. In the late 70s and early 80s he worked periodically as a garbage collector. Trained as an art teacher, he spent the 80s making abstract sculpture from steel or styrofoam scraps. His training as an educator and his years of "hands-on" experience led to a series of public education positions with Edmonton's Waste Management Services. For the past 15 years, Garry has been the Education Coordinator, working to encourage waste reduction and recycling among Edmonton's residents.
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