In areas where landfills are starting to reach capacity, many municipalities are encouraging their citizens to separate their yard waste from the rest of the garbage so it can be recycled. The yard debris is then used for composting and the compost that eventually results is used to improve the soil in various public facilities, such as parks. Some local governments even allow a certain amount of the compost to be used by homeowners for their lawns or organic farming endeavors.
Benefits of Composting Yard Waste
This use of yard waste on a municipal level has helped to reduce the burden on the landfills, while making people more aware of the importance of organic waste recycling and of the benefits of composting. At the same time, the parks and recreational departments are able to cut their budgets for fertilizer and soil treatments by utilizing the compost to treat and improve the soil in the parks. Some cities also use the compost to support the community vegetable garden projects as well.
The most commonly used raw materials that are used for these composting projects are the abundant yard waste materials such as fallen leaves, grass clippings, hedge and shrub trimmings, and small-size, pruned tree branches. Larger branches and trees can also be run through a chipper and the mulch can be added to the compost, as well as the many Christmas trees that are chipped and shredded each year.
Yard Waste Composting at Home
Of course, individual households can easily compost their yard debris as well, without needing to either wait for the pick-up schedule or for their municipality to institute such a program. Backyard composting is quite simple to start and there are compost bins available on the market for those with small or large backyards. Even those who live in apartments can enjoy the benefits of recycling their organic kitchen waste.
In fact, home composting can be a better solution. This is because most municipalities exclude certain organic waste products from the public composting piles that can readily be added to your composting project. For instance, at home you can include newspaper, coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, fruit rinds and vegetable peels. Most of the time you cannot include any of these items with your yard waste for curbside pickup.
With backyard composting, you can include all of these items right alongside of your yard waste and debris and throw it all right on your compost heap. However, you should never include animal meat, bones, pet feces, or any dairy products. These waste items will simply attract vermin and pests to your backyard and interfere with the decomposition process.
Some municipalities have enjoyed a 20% decrease in the volume of material going into their landfills by recycling yard waste. This small action is extending the capacity of the landfills and giving the decision makers a chance to come up with additional solutions to their landfill problems. Homeowners can do their part in helping by either separating their green waste for pickup or by starting their own compost heap.