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Grasscycling refers to leaving grass clippings on the lawn when mowing.

Electric lawn mower in grass-cycling mode

The term is a portmanteau combining "grass" and "recycling", and had come into use by at least 1990[1] as part of the push to reduce the huge quantities of clippings going into landfills, up to half of some cities' summertime waste flow,[2] as 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of lawn can produce 200 to 500 pounds (90 to 225 kg) of clippings a year.[3]

Because grass consists largely of water (80% or more[4]), contains little lignin,[4] and has high nitrogen content, grass clippings easily break down and return to the soil within one to two weeks,[3] acting primarily as a fertilizer supplement and, to a much smaller degree, a mulch. Grasscycling can provide 15 to 20% or more of a lawn's yearly nitrogen requirements.[5][6] Proponents also note that grasscycling reduces the use of plastic bags for collecting yard waste and reduces trips to the curb or landfill to haul waste.[7]

Optimal grasscycle techniques include:[3][5][8]

  • Cutting no more than 1/3 the length of the grass
  • Cutting when the grass is dry to the touch
  • Cutting when the height is between 3 and 4 inches (7 to 10 cm)
  • Ensuring that the mower blade is sharp

Although a mulching mower can make grass clippings smaller, one is not necessary for grasscycling.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Grasscycling definition/etymology". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  2. ^ "Denver Recycle Grasscycle". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  3. ^ a b c "Rivanna Solid Waste Authority Grasscycling Info". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  4. ^ a b "Grasscycling FAQ". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  5. ^ a b "Grasscycle!". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  6. ^ "California Integrated Waste Management Board - What is grasscycling?". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  7. ^ "King County Experience: Grasscycling". Archived from the original on 1999-11-05. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  8. ^ "Bay Delta Grass Recycling Campaign". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 

External links[edit]