In this article, Scott Hawthorne from shares a few tips for effectively managing stable waste and even lowering your waste output.

Waste management is extremely important when it comes to running a stable. Not only can poor waste management affect the health and wellbeing of your horses, but it can have knock-on effects for the environment too. So, you no doubt have to have systems in place and regular waste collections to keep everything in order.

However waste collection can often be expensive, and if you have concerns about sustainability too, you may be looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste you produce and look for other ways to reuse what you no longer need. To help, below we’ve highlighted five areas of stable maintenance that can help keep your waste output low.

1. Turn waste into fertiliser

Horse manure can be easily recycled into fertiliser for herb gardens, vegetable plots, and flower beds by composting it on a muck pile. Any excess manure is quite easy to store, but if your stable produces more manure than you can manage, you can arrange for it to be picked up and used on crop farms and other pieces of agricultural land.

Horse manure is ideal for this purpose because it’s not harmful, compared to some other animal waste which can be extremely dangerous. This is largely due to their diet, which is almost 100% vegetarian. Having said that, it’s important you consider where you keep your muck pile, as if it is too close to a water source it could be a health hazard.

2. Compost soiled bedding

The great thing about most horse bedding, whether it be straw, wood shavings, peat moss, or another material, is that almost every kind is completely compostable. That means that even soiled bedding can be thrown onto a compost heap along with horse dung and turned into fertiliser.

In addition, many stables like to use rubber matting under their chosen bedding, as this can often provide a more comfortable base than concrete flooring. And, another benefit of rubber mats is that you don’t need to use as much bedding material, so if you’re trying to keep your waste output low, you could consider rubber mats if you haven’t already implemented them in your stable.

eco friendly horse bedding straw

3. Reduce water waste

Rainwater can be used to supplement other water sources and help keep your stable from wasting tap water. It can even be used as drinking water for your horse if it is collected and stored safely to keep out bacteria and parasites, for example in a special rain barrel with a filter.

Waste water from horses used in horse wash stalls, tack areas, showers, and feed rooms (as long as they are free from harsh chemicals) can be collected and reused for purposes that don’t require clean water, such as groundskeeping. There, it can re-enter the water cycle by being spread on grassy areas, rather than overloading the sewers.

eco friendly horse bedding straw

4. Food Waste

Horses have a herbivorous diet, which means that any spoiled feed can easily be thrown on the muck pile and composted. However, to prevent food waste, you should take steps to ensure you’re only throwing away feed that you really need to, including by storing it in dry, cool, and well-ventilated conditions.

Transfer your opened feed into bins to keep out bacteria, damp, and pests to help it stay fresher for longer. Better quality feed often keeps better, especially if your feed dealer stores and manages their inventory properly. If you find that your feed is spoiling too quickly but you’re following proper
storage methods to the letter, it could be worth getting your feed from a different source to see if it lasts longer.

5. General Waste

Your stable should aim to compost any biodegradable, organic matter, and make sure you recycle as much as possible, including glass and plastics, to keep general waste down. Remember that you may have to arrange special collections for waste that is medical or clinical, as well as pesticides, cleaning products, and other chemicals that may contain hazardous materials.

In addition to managing your waste effectively, it’s helpful to look for waste collection services that are flexible. If you are able to control how often your waste is collected or have access to bigger skips and bins, you may be able to keep costs even lower while ensuring your waste disposal needs are met.

It’s also recommended that you keep your compost or muck pile, general waste bins, and recycling areas separate to avoid run-off and cross contamination.

The tips in this guide can help you manage your stable waste and reduce what you throw away.

Whether you’re looking to cut down for environmental reasons or you simply want to improve the cost of running your stable, bear these tips in mind and you may notice a difference.