Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

Do you have additional gardening questions? Please contact us. Here's how.

Horticulture Questions and Answers

How can I reduce waste?

Waste prevention saves energy, conserves natural resources and creates less pollution -- even more so than recycling! Here are just ten ways you can reduce waste:

1. Buy products with little or no packaging. In 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that packaging trash amounted to 30 percent of total discards. The fact is that many products, such as bulk foods and hardware items, don't need to be packaged at all. And most products need far simpler packaging. Shop and compare. And choose the item with the least amount of packaging.

2. Use reusable containers for leftovers instead of plastic bags and wraps. Recycle margarine and dessert topping containers for your leftover needs. And if you use aluminum foil, wash and reuse it if you can before recycling it.

3. Reduce your use of paper products. Use sponges and rags instead of paper towels, cloth napkins instead of paper, and washable plates and cups instead of paper and Styrofoam.

4. Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Keep paper or cloth bags in the car at all times for unplanned stops. Your choices are not limited to just "paper or plastic."

5. Buy large, economy-sized products. You'll save money and landfill space. Here's an example: buying rolled oats in a 72 oz. bag rather than a 12-pack of individual envelopes cuts waste by 89 percent, and cuts costs by 72 percent!

6. Use natural cleaning solutions instead of difficult to recycle aerosols. Baking soda works as a cleaner, vinegar or lemon juice as a deodorizer.

7. Send unwanted junk mail back to the sender and ask to be removed from the mailing list.

8. Avoid disposable products such as razors, diapers and plastic silverware.

9. Reuse paper products such as envelopes, packing materials, wrapping paper and bows.

10. Donate unwanted items such as clothing, furniture and appliances to charitable organizations.