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Great 'Green' Ways to Re-use Your Waste in the Garden

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Garden Waste Using Waste In The Garden

You’d be surprised at how many used and unwanted household items can be re-used in the garden. Various things can be used for garden storage, to make your garden safer, or simply to help your garden grow.

We list some of the most ingenious ways you can re-use waste in your garden.


Packaging, such as plastic trays and yoghurt pots, can make great planters and seed pots. Mushroom trays make ideal drip trays.

If you have large plastic bottles (for example the sort that fizzy drinks come in) you can cut a section off. This will give you a protective ring to place around plants which slugs and other pests are likely to be attracted to.

Plastic bottles are also handy for filling up and watering plants. Alternatively cut them on an angle and they make a useful shovelling implement.

Food and Drinks

Many gardening experts recommend some weird and wonderful foods and drinks for helping your plants grow. Some people ‘water’ house plants with cold tea for example. Dried coffee grounds are said to make excellent fertiliser, especially for nitrogen-loving plants such as blueberries.

If you need to add calcium to your garden, green-fingered enthusiasts suggest…egg shells!


You might not be able to use chipped or cracked pots anymore….but your garden can. Using them as planters is an attractive way to grow and display plants in the garden and adds a certain ‘shabby chic’ style.

You can use anything from cups and bowls to teapots.

Old cutlery (that you definitely won’t use again) can be used as gardening implements for tricky or small areas.

Ladies Tights!

Who would have thought ladies tights, of all things, could be so useful in the garden? Some people use them as liners for planters, replacing the need for expensive specialist liners or moss.

Another good idea is to use them for storing onions that you have picked! Drop the onions into the tights leg and tie a knot, then add another one, tie a knot and so on. You can hang up the tights full of onions in your kitchen or larder and just cut one off as and when you need to use one.

Old tights can also be used for tying up plants.

Garden safety

If you use pea canes, or other bamboo canes, in your garden, you’ll know how lethal they can be as the sharp ends can scratch or threaten to poke unsuspecting eyes. Ouch! Use waste such as little probiotic yoghurt pots or similar to protect the ends (and your eyes).

If you use something like cans, the rattling in the wind should also scare any pesky birds away.

Odds and Ends

Coat hangers, wooden spoons, sticks wire…practically anything that will stand up in soil or grass can be used as a plant support.

Old net curtains are excellent for laying over plants to keep pesky insects and birds off your plants, fruit or vegetables. This saves money on buying purpose-made garden netting.

If you want to label your plants, wooden ice lolly sticks are ideal for this. When using wooden lollipop sticks/ coffee stirrers, coat in pva glue or the writing fades when the wood gets wet.

These are just a few of the ways you can re-use waste in your garden. They should give you an idea of some of the inventive possibilities of re-using waste. If you’re not a gardener yourself ask around people you know or at local allotments.

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