The Q&A Archives: No longer needed mulch

Question: When fencing was put on my property, the left over dirt was thrown on top of a mulched area. It looks horrible. I want to clean up the area and put down new mulch. What do I do with the old mulch? Can I put it in the trash or does it have to be disposed of in a different manner? Thanks for your time.

Answer: Based on your description, I don't think you need to remove the old mulch. Organic mulch can be left in the soil to decompose slowly over time; it will help improve the soil as it breaks down. You can level the area or tidy it however you wish, then add a fresh layer of mulch on the surface. If for some reason you do need to remove the old mulch, you could recycle it elsewhere either as a soil amendment or as the initial layer of mulch in another bed, then top it with a thin layer of fresh mulch. Or, rather than put it in the trash, add it to the compost. If you do have to put it in the trash, it should be eligible to go in the "green" waste bin for municipal composting.

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