Falling for Leaf and Yard Waste

Waste Harmonics

Fall is in the air, making the air just a little crisper and your coffee just a little warmer.

We’re trading our swimsuits for sweaters and our lawn mowers for rakes as the leaves are turning to vibrant fall colors that blanket our lawns. It’s a season that brings good times jumping in leaf piles and getting your final harvest from your gardens. But what can you do with extra yard scraps and fallen leaves?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away. But there are greener, more cost-effective alternatives to traditional yard waste disposal methods. Here are some tips to help you fall for proper leaf and yard waste disposal.

No need to pay for mulch

Did you know that mulch is made from leaves, pine needles and other natural ingredients that help reduce soil erosion, regulate soil temperatures and prevent weeds? Skip the trip to the store because you can make it yourself! Combine brush, fall branches, leaves and wood scraps in a woodchipper to be shredded up. This is an easy way to not only make your garden beds look nice but also enrich their biodiversity while saving you money.

Keep it separate

If you live in a municipality that offers yard waste collection, ditch the garbage bags. Make a small, one-time investment in a reusable barrel for your yard waste. Make sure to keep yard waste separate from trash, as organic materials do not properly decompose in landfills.

Compost your leftovers

A simple yet effective way of handling leaves and yard waste is through composting. Include your leaves, grass clippings and hedge trimmings with your yard waste and allow it to slowly decompose and turn into rich, nutrient-dense soil for your garden.

Drop it off or donate it

If DIY is not the route for you, find out if your community offers yard waste drop off programs that will mulch the waste for you, or has a community compost. If you have no use for your yard waste and do not have a community program, ask around the neighborhood to see if a neighbor could put it to use in their gardens or compost.

To help keep the environment healthy, everyone has to do their part. Thankfully, you can start in your own backyard and enjoy everything the fall season has to offer!