By the end of 2022, the Chandler / Pass Garden will likely reuse, repurpose, repair & recycle an estimated 100 tons of community discards.
Gardens and landscapes are impactful places for recycling and reusing some of California’s 40 million tons of discards generated annually. Burbank for instance, generates some 18,000 tons of landscape clippings annually. The cutting, collection, long haul trucking, compost processing, and final distribution of “greenwaste” are fuel intensive and Burbank’s street tree and landscape related machinery produce nearly 2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Hauling these clippings out of town is also a gross loss of natural nutrients. An estimated 100,000 pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, 300,000 pounds total, are removed each year from Burbank residential landscapes and then replaced by manufactured and packaged NPK fertilizers.
To minimize this energy-intensive nutrient exchange, community gardeners are maximizing local resources. At the top of the list are wood chips from local tree trimmers. Spread as mulch or buried deep below the root zone, wood chips are high in soil-building carbon, lignin, cellulose and minerals. Already in the past three months, the Chandler / Pass garden has absorbed some 20 tons of wood chips.
There’s more. Local horse manure and bedding are high in nitrogen and 2-3 tons have been mixed into the garden soil. Over time, coffee grounds, spent mushroom bedding, worm castings, chicken manure, and composted food scraps will all improve soil fertility and feed plants. Along with all these local inputs, gardeners will also incorporate 40-60 tons of donated compost into the soil this year.
Finally, in addition to soil-building nutrients, used tools, hoses, buckets, wheelbarrows, and misc supplies are being donated to, and repurposed in the garden. Rocks, broken concrete, bricks, used lumber and branches are becoming garden bed borders.
Gardeners have always been resourceful recyclers, naturally.