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For so long, we believed the only way to rid ourselves of the natural waste that our yard produced was through open burning. We accomplish the feat of making more space and not paying for the disposable. Yet, we didn t realize the effects it could have to our environment. By using the debris that our trees and grass make, we can use it as compost to enrich our soil and reduce some of the pollutants that we put into the air.
In some areas, open burning is allowed, but only with a permit. Even then, burning of garbage, dead animals, petroleum products, paints, rubber products, plastics, paper, cardboard…is not allowed. The only material that is allowed to be burned is natural vegetation. The fine for burning out of permitted areas and/or burning materials that are not allowed is a minimum of twenty-five dollars. Depending on the amount and location, the fine could skyrocket to $200, 000.
Compost is an easy solution to eliminating the waste that our environment brings, while at the same time, providing many benefits to us, and the environment. By using compost, it improves our plant growth by enriching the soil that it drinks its nutrients from. It helps us avoid buying soil amendments such as peat, bark mulch and bagged manure. Compost also loosens the heavy clay that is in our soil, while improving the capacity to hold water and adding essential nutrients.
Not only benefiting us, our involvement in making compost benefits the environment also. As if we already don t have enough garbage filling our landfills, we certainly don t need our yard waste to waste any more space when we can so easily handle it ourselves. Compost helps reduce the volume it could contribute to landfills. Why put it into the earth that way, when we can enrich it by turning our yard waste into a natural fertilizer? It also helps prevents us from purchasing pesticides and chemical fertilizers that could further damage the environment and the animals around us.
Compost is really easy; all that is needed is some fresh yard debris and rain. By yard debris, it includes the following: grass clippings, leaves, flowers, weeds, twigs, sawdust, eggshells and dryer lint. What we DO NOT want to compost is dairy products, meat scraps, animal fats, bones, dog and cat feces and diseased plants or fruits. These materials may attract dogs, rats or other animals. They may also develop an unpleasant odor during decomposition Weed plants heavily laden with seeds might be better left out of the compost pile if the compost is to be returned to the garden. Even though some seeds are killed during composting, there is the chance that some seeds will survive and create an unnecessary weed problem.
There are fast and slow methods of composting. The speed that compost forms all depends on the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, surface area of particles, aeration, moisture, and temperature. Controlling these factors along with frequent turning of the compost speeds up the process. The fast composing methods depend on use of turning units. They can create good compost in less than six weeks, depending on how the compost pile is managed. The materials for fast composting should be added in larger quantities than many small amounts. In the slow method, material may be added to the enclosure at any time. Turning can help, but it isn t required. Composting can range from six weeks to two years. It all depends on the methods we choose and what we are contributing to our compost pile.
Although composting is a smart method of getting rid of our yard and garden waste, our compost pile can create some problems: bad odor, the compost pile isn t breaking down and the heap is moist, sweet smelling with some decomposition but still doesn t decompose enough. If the pile is producing bad odor, the pile may be too wet, too tight or both. Turn it to loosen it and allow better air exchange in the pile. If it is too wet, turn the pile and add dry material. The use of animal products may also contribute to the bad odor of our compost pile. Or our pile may not be decomposing because the pile is too small or there isn t enough nitrogen available for proper decomposition. Collect more materials or add those available to make a larger pile. Turn and mix the old ingredients that may have only slightly decomposed into the new pile or mix a nitrogen source such as fresh grass clippings, manure or fertilizer into the pile to help its progress.
But if this seems like too much trouble and we prefer to let the professionals do the job, then there is another alternative available that could enable us to help the environment, without the hassle. On the corner of Lakeway and Woburn Street, large bins are located for our convenience to drop off any of the following: grass clippings, garden clippings, sod, limbs, vines, leaves, and natural vegetation. Another method with the same result, except it isn t in our yard or garden.
Composting is a useful method of ridding ourselves of yard waste and at the same time, benefits both us and the planet that we live on. The steps are simple and not much work is required to decompose, and even if we re not interested in the notion of creating a composting pile, others in our community could need our waste for their own use. All in all, composting is an easy method of saving the slowly diminishing planet that we live on.
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