As homeowners look for ways to conserve water and provide pollinators with food and shelter, more and more people have decided to remove grass from their lawns. If helping the environment wasn’t enough, though, Utah is now offering residents cash for their unused lawn turf.
Utah residents can earn up to $3 per square foot of “nonfunctional turf” through the state’s turf buyback program. “Nonfunctional turf” refers to grass that, despite requiring mowing and watering, is never really used.
The buyback program was unveiled earlier this month with the aim of combating drought and preserving Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
Grass lawns aren’t sustainable as they grow only one kind of plant, which means they aren’t providing food or shelter for local wildlife. Grass also requires 40% to 50% more water than other plants. As droughts become more frequent, it is important to reduce water usage. By replacing your lawn with native plants, you can conserve water while providing local wildlife with food and shelter.
Another popular alternative to lawns is xeriscaping, the practice of designing a landscape to reduce irrigation. Utah is one of the driest states in the U.S., so planting drought-resistant flora is a simple way for Utah residents to beautify their yards without wasting water.
Even without financial incentives, many homeowners have decided to replace their monoculture lawns with native flora. “It’s exciting to see more and more people understanding that we can’t have as much grass as we used to have,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox.
Commenters were excited to see Utah encouraging residents to ditch turf. “Just applied for this … I’ll have to let my neighbors know,” one announced.
“$3 per sq ft of non-functional turf is amazing!” said another. “I hope other states follow suit.”
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