Hop to it! Composting


Composting is the natural way to turn yard
waste into a rich material to fertilize, retain moisture and improve soil structure. Instead of putting your leaves and grass in
the trash, yard waste can be left on the lawn, placed in a backyard composting bin or picked
up curbside for processing at a commercial composting site. Landfills in our region continue to fill up
rapidly and we can act now to keep valuable, reusable material such as yard waste out of
the landfill with proper management. In many communities, it is common to set yard
waste out with the trash for disposal in the landfill. A recent waste evaluation found that 11% of
our landfill is filled with yard waste. Johnson County Government and local cities
are working together to restrict yard waste from being disposed of in landfills. You can help! Keep our landfills from filling up unnecessarily
with yard waste. The best way to keep leaves and grass out
of the trash is to not generate the waste in the first place. Instead of going through the laborious task
of bagging leaves and grass, use a mulching mower and leave the clippings on your lawn! Not only do grass clippings help retain moisture,
they also return up to 25% of the needed nitrogen fertilizer in to the soil! The K-state research and extension encourages
grass recycling and their research proves it DOES NOT lead to thatch. In the fall, fallen leaves can be mulched
back in to the lawn at a time with a mulching mower. Leaves, grass and even food scraps can be
composted in your yard. A compost pile is a simple way to manage yard
and food waste at home. In as little as three months, you can have
rich, black compost to use on your garden and lawn. Locate your compost bin in an area where there
is no standing water, it is best to have an enclosure of some type to place your yard
waste. There are a wide variety of sizes, shapes
and designs for a compost bin. You can also purchase compost bins at various
stores locally. Here is a list of items that are acceptable
in a backyard compost bin. Leaves, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable
scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters. Add fresh waste such as fruit and vegetables
scraps in to the center of the pile and cover them up, this helps aerate the pile and also
buries the fresh waste so that they don’t attract pests. DO NOT put meat, fat, dairy products, or animal
waste in to your compost bin. It does not require much to make your compost
happen, actively turning your compost and maintaining moisture by watering will accelerate
the process by turning yard waste and food scraps in to rich compost material. Yard waste can also be managed at a commercial
composting facility. You can haul your leaves, grass, brush and
limbs out to one of our communities facilities or contract with a waste hauler to conveniently
collect your yard waste separately at the curb for composting. Yard waste must be placed in containers suitable
for composting such as bio-degradable paper bags, brush and limbs need to be bundled appropriately. Yard waste collected curbside for composting
is delivered to the composting facility, first the material is sent through a grinder to
be mulched and shredded in to fine particles. Next the shredded material is placed in wind
rows, to begin the process of creating compost. These rows of yard waste are kept well aerated
with the help of equipment capable of turning the piles. The wind rows are also kept well moisturized,
over a short period of time the yard waste decomposes in to a finished compost material. The final compost product is put through the
screen while it removes any impurities or over sized material. The final output is fine, rich black compost. It is abundant in organic matter and can be
used to improve lawns and gardens. It may be applied as a thin top dressing for
lawns, as mulch around shrubs and young trees, or mixed in to the soil in vegetable and flower
gardens. The greatest benefit of contract composting
is that it allows us to recycle our yard waste and keep the material out of the landfills. Composting creates a useful end product from
organic waste and protects our environment. Landfills have served an important function
for managing our waste but as we move forward into the 21st century we need to look at landfills
as but one small piece in the management of our waste. Each individual can help keep leaves and grass
out of the trash by properly managing yard waste at home or having it collected curbside
for composting at a composting facility. The best thing we can do now is reduce the
amount of waste we send to the landfill by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting.

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