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Go Green with Your Yard Waste!

Posted by Audrey Lichten

Aug 18, 2015

 

We're nearing the end of the summer and you may be doing some extra yard work to enjoy the last of the warm weather. Plus, all those sun scorched plants around your house aren't helping your curb appeal. Doing a bit of end-of-summer yard work will refresh your home's exterior before Autumn weather hits. But before you get rid of all that yard waste you've accumulated, consider going green with it.

There are a couple of environmentally friendly ways to dispose of the dead vegetation piled up in your yard: You can either compost it yourself or find a yard waste center to take it to.

Composting

If you choose to compost your yard waste yourself, you are not only recycling that yard waste but you'll personally benefit from it in the future. This process is a natural decomposition of organic material that creates a soil-like product. It becomes a great mulch that provides nutrients to your garden or yard. To start a compost pile:

  1. Collect carbon-rich "brown" materials, like fall leaves, straw, dead flowers from your garden, and shredded newspaper, and nitrogen-rich "green" materials, like grass clippings, fruit and vegetable peelings and cores, or barnyard animal manure (we know this isn't exactly green, but manure is full of nitrogen like the other "green" stuff. Just be sure not to use waste from carnivores, such as cats or dogs).
  2. Then, you need some garden soil and a compost bin or spot about nine square feet.
  3. Layer the "brown" and "green" material with about three times more brown than green, while adding a little soil within the layers.
  4. Keep the pile moist, but not drenched.
  5. Let everything sit for several weeks, turning the pile periodically to bring the outer layers to the middle of the pile. There might be steam as you turn the pile which means the decomposing process is occurring.
  6. Once your pile has turned into black, crumbly matieral, it is ready to be applied to your plants.

Yard Waste Center

If you're not interested in doing any more work than you already did by clearing out your yard, that is totally understandable. Instead of just throwing your yard waste away, look up the yard waste options that your city has in place. Some cities have "green" bins that can be picked up on the curb just like garbage or recycling. If that doesn't exist, there could be a waste center nearby that you can take your waste to. Green waste can be used in diversion programs, like land application and composting. But be sure to only drop off waste they can use.

DO (take to the center)

  • Grass clippings (but you can also leave these on the lawn)
  • Leaves
  • Small branches
  • Flowers
  • Ivy
  • Plants
  • Weeds
  • Hedge trimmings
  • Palm fronds
  • Halloween pumpkins
  • Chrismas trees (double check with your center to make sure)

DON'T (take to the center)

  • Plastic bags or pots
  • Kitchen scraps, fruit, trash or hazardous waste
  • No animal waste
  • No dirt, rocks, asphalt, concrete, sand, etc.
  • No treated or lead-based wood or lumber

There is always a "greener" way of doing something. Make sure you're helping the environment and using the systems in place to do so. Don't throw your yard waste in the garbage and don't burn it in order to avoid air pollution or fire hazards. We know a well-kept house and yard is important to you so we're always here to help. For other ways to boost your curb appeal, consider an exterior siding project or contact Peninsula Siding Company with your questions.

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