Are Garden Shredders Worth It?

garden shredder

Okay – I promise, I’m going to handle this with dignity and minimal excitement. Garden shredders are just so freaking cool, though! Okay, I’m done. I promise. With that out of the way, today’s topic of discussion is whether or not garden shredders are worth it. While you can likely tell what my answer is, the truth of the matter is that it boils down to what you need.

Are garden shredders worth it? For the right person – absolutely. They are fantastic for specific uses, though some people will find little-to-no use in a garden shredder.

There’s a lot to discuss today, so let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Garden Shredders 101

garden shredder

Let’s start with the simple stuff so the uninitiated amongst us can catch up and understand why I’m so in love with these things.

Garden shredders pretty much do what their name implies – they shred stuff, from your garden. Think of it as an eco-friendly trash bin. Anything that you don’t want in the garden goes in the shredder (assuming it’s organic matter, that is). You can plop everything from prunings and leaves to small branches into most shredders, though your mileage will vary based upon the brand.

Once you’ve blended this up into a garden smoothie, you’ll find that the trimmings make for fantastic mulch and compost. Of course, that’s because that’s kinda the whole deal of garden shredders – they take refuse and make it useful. And here at DreamyHome, we’re all about sustainability and making use of “trash.”

Are Garden Shredders Worth It? Pros & Cons

garden shredder grass clippings

And now it’s time for a good, old fashioned pros and cons list. Let’s get into it!

The Pros

  • Eco-friendly:
    • As I said – mulch is great as it takes trash and gives it further use. If you have a garden that you actually use, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll love a garden shredder.
  • DIY:
    • Along that same line of thinking, being able to create your own mulch and compost is a game-changer. Gone are the days of buying expensive bags of big-name compost. Gone are the days of struggling to find the right blend for your garden. Garden shredder compost uses what’s already in your yard to create a nutrient-rich blend to bring new life to your garden.
  • Ease of Disposal:
    • If you’ve ever had to take a full day to clean up after a day of gardening (goodbye, weekend!), you know the struggle. Cleaning up gardening waste is never fun and often results in splinters and bugs all over – no fun. Garden shredders, on the other hand, are incredibly powerful, making it super easy to clean up.
  • Safely dispose of landfill favourites!
    • Things like cardboard, paper (stationery), egg cartons, and even paper towels all end up in the trash bin more often than not due to a simple inability to properly dispose of them. This results in excess carbon buildup and is generally just a waste! With a shredder, you can dispose of all of these (with some exceptions) and create compost. It’s the best of both worlds!

The Cons

garden shredder shredding branches
  • Bulky:
    • Garden shredders take up a lot of space. If you’re limited on space or don’t have a place to store the shredder inside, you may be out of luck. Without an indoor, enclosed space to store the shredder, you risk it rusting in the rain and just taking more wear-and-tear than it deserves.
  • Capacity:
    • If you’re in a relatively small garden, this won’t apply to you. But if you have a massive swathe of property to maintain, it’s likely that your everyday garden shredder simply won’t cut it. Most shredders have a relatively small capacity for refuse, meaning a large property will require constant babysitting and emptying of the storage bin.
  • Cables!!!
    • Nobody likes being tripped in their own garden. And seeing as most garden shredders require a power cord, tripping is likely in your future. Add in that not everyone’s home has outlets set up outside, and getting power to your shredder could potentially be a big pain.

Will a Garden Shredder Shred Cardboard and Other Refuse?

cardboard shredded in garden shredder

Okay – there’s one caveat to what I’m about to say. Depending on the power of your shredder’s engine, it may struggle with some things.

With that said, what can a garden shredder actually shred?

  • Leaves & small (bush) branches
  • Grass clippings
  • Plant waste (from the garden)
  • Cardboard
  • Some kitchen waste (veggie/fruit bits, eggshells, coffee grounds – no meat, fat, or oil)
  • Paper (& paper towels without chemicals on them)
  • Chicken manure

Some more powerful shredders can even handle medium-sized branches from trees or hedges, though it’s definitely worth a consultation with your owner’s manual before making that decision.

Be sure to keep in mind that the end goal here is compost. As such, you need to be careful not to throw in plastics, fat, oil, meat products, or anything else that can break down and damage plant life when composted. Additionally, don’t throw human waste, wax paper, or glossy/coated paper into the shredder. While this may seem obvious, it’s always worth noting for that one guy.

Surprisingly, cardboard is actually fantastic to compost. It creates a lot of carbon when breaking down (and does so quickly), meaning it’ll result in healthy and happy plants.

Conclusion

No matter your thought process going into this article, it should be pretty clear by now that garden shredders are absolutely worth it. They help keep your home eco-friendly, reduce waste, encourage plant growth with homemade compost, and more! While they do have their own downsides, for the right family, a quality garden shredder is entirely worth the investment.

If you’re still on the fence, consider how much waste comes from your garden each year. Plant clippings, pruning trimmings, leftover lawn clippings, and even cardboard – it all goes to the landfill. With a garden shredder, you simultaneously create a healthier environment for your garden, clean up your property, and help the environment. It really doesn’t get much better than that, does it?