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Got invasive plants? You now have somewhere to put them!

Thanks to members of the Invasive Plant Species Committee of Nantucket (IPSC), you can now dispose of your invasive plant materials in a special dumpster at the Town Landfill. Located generally between the glass and metal containers, a sign (or a friendly Waste Options employee) will tell you where to toss those invasive baddies.

Previous to this new development, non-native plant waste was either composted or put into the household trash. Neither of these options were ideal. Many invasive plants thrive in nutrient poor, sandy soils. Many of our non-native invasive plants can re-sprout from small fragments, so if the compost did not reach high enough temperatures it could  become contaminated with invasive plant propagules (bits that would re-sprout forming new plants); Problematic for homeowners and landscapers alike. Putting them in the household trash meant they had to be in plastic bags and often included a lot of dirt in the roots, which is not good for the digester.

This new solution allows the non-natives to be dumped either in bags or as bare material. It is then processed in the digester ensuring it gets to temperatures hot enough to kill any seeds or plant propagules. If you have a large load of invasive plant material (more than a few bags’ worth) you can bypass the dumpster and drive to the scale house where you will be directed to dump it directly onto the digester’s tipping room floor.

While the IPSC has worked on this issue in the past, Kelly Omand (IPSC co-Chair) and Emily Molden (IPSC secretary) recently re-visited disposal protocols with DPW and Waste Options staff who agreed that spreading the invasives is a bad idea for the island and for the town landfill itself! Kara Buzanoski of the Nantucket DPW facilitated a meeting with Nathan Widell of Waste Options Nantucket, which led to the new invasive plant disposal bin. Woody material must be chipped before placement in the bin, but it’s now quicker and easier to dispose of invasive weeds.

A few more tips for proper invasive disposal:

  • Know when the plant reproduces. To avoid further spread, it is always better to remove a plant prior to seeding. When in flower or just prior are often ideal times.
  • Wear gloves. Some non-native invasive plants can irritate the skin or have thorns. Better safe than sorry!
  • If you disturb the soil when you remove an invasive plant, plant something new, preferably native. Many invasive plant seeds thrive in newly disturbed soil.
  • Please make sure all invasive plant materials are well covered, if not bagged, so as not to escape during transport!

 

The IPSC in a sub-committee of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative. For more information on Nantucket invasive plants or for more information on how you can get involved, check out the IPSC page for more info.

Need info on what to plant next? Check out the new IPSC guide to native planting on Nantucket.

For a list of some of our worst invaders, check out this brochure by the IPSC.