You’ve just finished a long day of cleaning your yard, and you’re feeling satisfied with nicely trimmed trees, weeds pulled, and your leaves raked out of the grass. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with this unsightly pile of leaves and other yard debris off to a corner. What do you do with it? Most of us either leave it there or throw it out with the rest of the trash. Even though it’s a big pile of plant debris, it doesn’t just go away immediately.
Every year, the U.S. produces 33 million tons of green waste. Most of that waste ends up in landfills, which emit tons of methane into the atmosphere as everything decomposes. According to the EPA, methane emissions are about 25 times as dangerous for the environment as CO2, meaning that your pile of leaves is contributing to the already growing amount of methane emitted from the US every year. A potential alternative to sending yard waste to the dump is burning, but burning wood can be annoying for your neighbors and also release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
In order to effectively get rid of your waste and help the environment, we suggest 3 smart and sustainable ways to ensure that your yard waste is disposed of or used more efficiently.
Mulching essentially means grinding up your pile of debris and layering it under your plants in your landscape. You can use your waste by itself, or you could also mix it with mulch you purchase. You’ll need a mulcher, but those are pretty easy to rent or buy, and will be worth it especially if you have lots of debris to grind up.
Composting is an essential component of a zero-waste lifestyle. It might sound tedious, but it’s much easier than you think. Composting is a great way to get rid of both your food waste and yard debris like branches and leaves. You can even start composting in your backyard with just a little bit of equipment. However, composting does require some maintenance and lots of patience to get good quality material at the end. If composting isn’t for you, you can purchase compost from retailers like Indianhead Soil for your private yard, golf course, or farmland. As a bonus, Indianhead will take your yard waste too!
If you want to make a more significant positive impact on the environment, recycling is a great place to start. It’s a far more effective way to get rid of the yard debris, and you’ll be helping the environment by letting your waste be reused for something else. You can do some research and find green waste recycling facilities near you, or you can simply bring your yard waste to Indianhead Soil and leave with some compost while you’re here! We recycle all of the yard waste we get into compost, which helps sequester carbon and improve the environment.
Even though yard waste is plant matter and decomposes over time, it’s still waste we must take care of. With these three hacks, you can make your yard waste greener and contribute to a more sustainable environment.