Let the Grass and Leaves Be

Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash in 2011. Yard trimmings – including leaves and grass clippings – accounted for about 13 percent of that waste!  Leaves and grass clippings sent to the landfill are buried under other trash, meaning that they do not decompose as quickly as they otherwise would.

Viewer Tip: Create more free time this fall.  Instead of raking leaves and grass clippings into a pile and bagging them, mow over them. Leave the leaves and clippings on your lawn or use them as mulch in your garden. As they break down, leaves and grass act as natural fertilizers, adding nutrients back into the soil. Leaving leaves and clippings on the lawn also prevents space from being taken up in landfills and reduces auto emissions from vehicles used to transport the waste. You can also add leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste to a compost pile.

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(Sources:  EPA, “Give an Inch, Save a Yard:  Grassrecycling and Mulching”, http://www.epa.gov/composting/grassmulch.htm; EPA, “Municipal Solid Waste”, http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/index.htm.)

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