B.C. Air Quality

Alternatives to Burning

Burning should be considered a last resort in most cases. Instead of burning, reuse and recycle as much organic material as possible.

Turn your garden leftovers into garden riches: compost and mulch. Leafy materials and small trimmings make great compost, while branches and sticks can be ground up into mulch. Proper composting will destroy pathogens and insect eggs.

You can do the work yourself at home, or hand the job to community or private services, such as those outlined below:

  • Curbside recycling services are available through solid-waste utilities and collection services in many communities. In some municipalities, your yard residue can be taken to composting facilities where it will be turned into compost and mulch. For more information, see Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC): Directory of Alternatives to Open Burning.
  • Tree-trimming services are offered by private companies, who will come to your property and dispose of small or large quantities of land-clearing debris.
  • Chipping machines shred branches and other woody materials for use as mulch. They can be rented or bought at nurseries, or hardware and garden stores. To keep costs down, you may want to buy or rent a machine with several neighbours.

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