Composting makes sense. Instead of sending organic matter to a landfill, it can be transformed into a useful additive which can even be sold. See Environmental Benefits.
What Can Compost Be Used For?
- Farmers use compost for enhancing crops and for sod farms.
- Landscapers use compost as a soil amendment and for decorative purposes at properties, golf courses, and athletic fields.
- Landfill operators use compost to cover landfills and carry out reclamation projects.
- Nurseries use compost for enhancing plant and forest seedling crops in reforestation projects and to prevent certain plant diseases such as root rot.
- Public agencies use compost for landscaping highway median strips, parks, recreational areas, and other public property and remediating contaminated or eroded sites.
- Homeowners use mature compost to enrich gardens, improve the soil around trees and shrubs, use as soil additive for house plants and planter boxes and as a protective mulch for trees and shrubs.
How Do I Compost?
Composting is easy. Common materials like chicken wire, bricks, and buckets are all it takes to begin composting, which can be done either indoors or outdoors. Maintenance is not difficult either: regular mixing or turning and a little water can ensure success. Learn how to create your own compost pile.
Why Not Put Yard Wastes in Landfills?
Since these materials are relatively clean and biodegradable, disposal in landfills may be unnecessary and wastes space. In addition, as yard wastes decompose in landfills, they generate methane gas and acidic leachate. Methane is a colorless, explosive greenhouse gas that is released as bacteria decompose organic materials in landfills. If methane is not controlled at a landfill, it can seep underground and into nearby buildings, where it has the potential to explode. Yard wastes also contribute acidity that can make other waste constituents more mobile and therefore more toxic.
A number of states across the nation have implemented yard waste composting programs. To learn how many composting programs are in your state, visit Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) State Data page.
Why Not Burn Leaves and Other Yard Wastes?
Burning leaves and other yard wastes pollutes the air and can lead to uncontrolled fires. Leaf smoke can make breathing difficult for people who suffer from asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or allergies. A number of states currently ban leaf burning, and some communities either ban leaf burning or restrict when and where it can take place. For more information, visit EPAs Backyard Burning site.