The hard trimmings of the Beech, Hawthorn, Hornbeam, Privet and laurel etc, from the hedge cuttings are difficult to compost unless you shred them in a garden shredder.
However, even if you have the time to stand and feed what will possibly be a considerable pile of clippings into the machine, the waste product that is produced would have to break down for at least 2 years before it can be re-introduced safely to the garden as compost or mulch.
Taking the cuttings in a trailer or hired truck to the municipal dump is both time consuming and is now considered as taboo, especially if it is destined for a landfill site.
I am a firm believer that re-cycling is a must for our environment whenever possible; landfill increases costs when handling and transport is included but more importantly, the methane emissions can be considerable as the vegetation decays underground. Methane is about twenty times stronger as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide so reducing the possibility or further unnecessary releases should be high on gardener's agenda.
Many Councils now do shred the waste and compost it before selling it back to gardeners as compost. Unless this compost is sterilised, be careful because weed seeds or disease may be introduced into your borders.
If you have the space, and there is not the possibility of annoying anyone then a small controlled fire will not only serve to solve your bulky waste problem but you will be left with a nice pile of fresh Potash for the garden.
It is best to prepare a site in advance making sure it is flat and not on the site of any previous fire. The ash, when the wood is burnt must not be polluted by plastic or general rubbish.
When you have completed the burning, let the ash cool and before it is allowed to get damp, collect the light powder up into a bucket and take it directly over to your roses and sprinkle around the base.
Putting the ash around many plants is beneficial, tomatoes and geraniums are especially keen on it. Fruit will benefit because, very often lime is produced also during and all fruit needs a certain amount of lime if the fruit is to be sweet.
Why must it be fresh and dry?
After burning, the beneficial Potash (K) is suspended within the wood ash. If allowed to get wet before it is used the Potassium will leech away and just leave rather inert wood ash.
If you want to store the ash make sure you keep it dry and avoid plastic containers so it doesn't sweat.