Author: Rebecca Mills
This time of year has us thinking about de-cluttering our homes and getting our yards and gardens ready for summer. In the process of all this spring cleaning, we often create a fair amount of trash. Everything from broken housewares to branches and yard trimmings are gathered up for the garbage man to haul away. But does it really go “away” or are there some better alternatives?
In 2013, solid waste disposal facilities regulated by the State of Utah collected more than 4 million tons of non-hazardous waste; this figure doesn’t include all the collection happening at private, city or county facilities across the state. Nationally, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that 251 million tons of trash were collected in 2012.
Despite advances in landfill technology, the vast majority of the garbage you want out of sight, out of mind becomes stationary in the landfill — some of it will be stationary forever because it will never break down into something usable in our soils.
What is one thing you can do this spring/summer to make a difference?
Consider getting your yard ready for composting!
Yard and garden waste and food scraps amount to 28 percent of the total national figures on waste collected. When yard, garden and food waste go to the landfill, the nutrients still present in the material are wasted (no pun intended). In fact, large amounts of organic materials such as leaves and grass clippings produce adverse gasses as they decompose in the landfill setting.
Utah State University Extension has great resources on composting to help you get started. Check out the many ways you can compost below. The benefits will be great: you’ll be saving the landfill of bulk and getting a useable product in return!
- Backyard composting Basics
- Vericomposting (using worms to transform kitchen scraps into plant super food)
- Trends in solid waste and recycling
- Recycler and Disposal volumes
author bio: Rebecca Mills, Extension assistant professor in family consumer sciences and 4-H youth development, loves all things agriculture, is a wife, a mother to other people’s kids through foster care and 4-H, a wanna-be runner and tries to make each day a healthy day. Follow her on twitter @ext4all