Jackie Thompson

In Oklahoma City, OK, they are literally running out of landfill space and only have 20 to 30 years before all landfills fill up, according to a Fox25 report. The issue became worse once China banned imports of mixed paper and plastics from the United States. However, residents who garden are also contributing to the problem by producing a lot of plastic and wood waste. Waste Management is responding to this problem by asking residents to keep on recycling in order to improve sustainability. About 40 percent of people in the city are participating in a recycling program started by authorities, according to the Oklahoma City Utilities Department spokesperson, Jennifer McClintock. The program allows residents to recycle items like glass, empty food containers, aluminum foil, bottles, cardboard, and paperboard.

Limit the Plastics Used in Your Garden
We buy different products for use in our gardens, and most of the time these products are packaged in plastic containers or are made of plastic. You can reduce plastics in the garden by buying tools made of metal because they will outlast plastic ones. Just make sure you clean the tools after use, sharpen them occasionally, and store them in a shed to keep them dry. Apart from this, stay away from plastic growing containers, and instead use metal, terracotta, and wood as pots or planters. You can even switch from plastic hoses to metal watering cans. In addition, reduce plastics by swapping seeds instead of buying seeds packed in plastic. Just join any Oklahoma gardeners association and ask if you can swap seeds with members.

Sustainable Water Fountains
You can also  reduce waste from manufactured products by buying fountains made from recycled materials, such as recycled stainless steel. Recycled metals can be used to build water fountains that can stand the test of time and are unique. You can then position your new water fountain at the center of your garden to enhance its Zen. You can even add a sculpture made from old metal tools and tins to add an artsy vibe to your garden. It’s all about being creative in stopping additional waste finding its way into the landfills.

Using Waste Creatively in Your Garden
Another major problem in landfills is cardboards and paperboards. Cardboard is often used to package plants, garden produce, eggs and other gardening products used in the garden. The Oklahoma City Utilities Department accepts cardboard and paperboard for recycling, but they can only accept a certain percentage at a time. In fact, only 3.7 percent of solid waste is recovered in Oklahoma, according to a recent Pew study. The good news is that you can reuse cardboard as weed suppressants instead of using plastic, and cardboard egg cartons can be used to start a dozen seeds. These may seem like inadequate actions, but when you look at the bigger picture, you will realize that they can help solve part of the landfill problem in Oklahoma.

Diverting items away from landfills for recycling, reuse or by reducing packaging is still Oklahoma’s long-term strategy to deal with the waste. Fortunately, many residents are taking up the challenge and starting their own recycling businesses.

*Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.