Yard and Food Waste
Yard waste and trimmings account for nearly 17% of municipal solid waste. This waste consists of grass, leaves, tree, and brush trimmings - adding up to approximately 31 million tons each year. Through composting, we can reduce the amount of yard waste entering the solid waste stream.
What You Can Do:>
The most preferable option for reducing the generation of yard waste is to switch from manicured turf grass to a landscape containing native plants those plants which have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. As native plants require minimal or no mowing, the generation of yard wastes are significantly reduced or completely eliminated. In addition, these plants do not require fertilizers, pesticides or watering, due to the fact they are so well adapted to their environment. The reduction or elimination of lawn maintenance equipment significantly reduces air pollution. The native plants also provide shelter and food for wildlife, promote bio diversity and stewardship of our natural heritage and save money.
Yard trimmings can be transformed into compost, which can provide useful nutrients to soil. Mixing compost with soil helps control erosion, strengthens soil fertility, maintains pH balance, and encourages the development of healthy roots in plants and trees. Some communities provide yard waste pick up at the curbside or at drop-off locations. Check with your local municipality to see what types of composting programs are available in your area. Otherwise, you can construct your own composting bin in your backyard and reuse the compost. A popular type of composting, known as vermicomposting, uses earthworms to recycle organic matter into nutrient-rich vermicompost and worm castings returning organic matter to the soil.
Food scraps constitute approximately 6.7% of the municipal solid waste in the United States. While it may seem like a small percentage, it adds up to over 13.2 million tons per year. Like yard waste, food waste scraps can also be composted.
What You Can Do:
You can cut down on the amount of food scraps that need to be tossed into landfills by implementing your own composting program.
For More Information:
The following links provide information on composting
EPA Green Communities, Beneficial Landscaping website