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How to... go green with your garden waste

We are very excited that interest in local food growing and gardening is on the rise in Merton! This is a great way to help the planet and has been shown to have mental and physical health benefits. But how do you sustainably deal with your garden waste? Sustainable Merton Community Champions Sophie and Luca have put together these useful suggestions...

Composting at home

The most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your green waste would be to compost it. If you have space in your garden then setting up a compost bin is an easy way to use your green waste and you can include a lot of your food waste in there too. Overall, composting can save you money, improve the soil quality of your garden, and reduce your environmental impact.

Did you know... composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually?

Setting up a compost bin is easy and relatively cheap to get started. You can make your own out of wood if you are particularly handy. Once you have your bin it is easy to get going and there are plenty of easy to follow instructions available in gardening books or on the web: this guide from Recycle Now is particularly comprehensive, a great start to your composting journey.

Donate your compost for local use

Phipps Bridge Community Garden

If you don’t have space for a compost bin yourself, you can look into donating your garden waste to relevant local groups looking for compost. For example, Sustainable Merton’s Phipps Bridge Community Garden accept deliveries of garden waste for their compost heap (apart from difficult perennial weeds like bindweed and couch grass so please remove any of those).

To see if they are accepting compost, get in touch at

Other options are:

  • Research other local groups taking compost donations, perhaps a local school, allotment or garden project may welcome your waste

  • Talk to your neighbours to see if they have a compost heap that you could add to

  • Talk to your neighbours to see if they have a brown council green waste bin that they would let you use occasionally if they have the space. Perhaps you could swap for something they would like, such as a cake or cat sitting!

Local Recycling Centres

Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre accepts loose (no bags) garden waste and wood. If you go with this option, consider pooling your garden waste with a friend or neighbour to reduce transport emissions. Be sure to check out their website for the latest information (including Covid-19 restrictions). Here are a few restrictions to keep in mind:

  • Vehicle restrictions – Cars only. No vans or large vehicles, no trailers, no pedestrians, no bikes.

  • Residents only – You must bring ID (driving licence or recent council tax statement) with you to prove you are a Merton resident.

Merton Council Collection

Merton Council offers a chargeable, fortnightly collection service for garden waste such as grass cuttings, hedge prunings, twigs and leaves. Check out their website to find out more. What happens to this garden waste? The South London Waste Partnership transports the waste to one of seven composting facilities where it is turned into high quality, peat-free compost and soil conditioning products.

by Sophie & Luca

Sustainable Merton Community Champions

Waste Action Team


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