By Andrew Donahue
Wondering what to do with all your leaf and yard waste after this year’s fall clean up? Due to the most recent implementation of the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148) as of July 1st 2016 all leaf and yard debris is banned from the landfill – so that is NOT an option. So, where does that leave you? No need to worry you have plenty of options.
Lastly, leaves and yard waste are perfect for composting or can also be used as a mulch for gardens and beddings. The most efficient and effective way to use your leaves as compost or mulch material is to go over them with a bagged rotary mower. The leaves will be finely chopped and mixed with grass shavings giving the mixture a good carbon to nitrogen ratio.
The finely chopped leaves will decompose faster as opposed to whole leaves that can take up to a year for decomposition to occur. The leaves and grass mixture can then be mixed in with your compost pile, or bagged and stored indoors through the winter to be used in the spring as a great nutritious and healthy natural mulch product for your garden or plants. If you don’t own a lawnmower, no worries! Your leaves will still compost, just be sure to mix them into your compost pile and turn regularly.
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Andrew Donahue is an Eco-Americorps member serving as an outreach assistant about Act 148 for the hard-working Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District for one year. He hopes his year of service brings a positive environmental impact to the area.
Waste more, want not, said no one ever. But, we’ve all heard the age old saying, “waste not, want not.”
Whether you learned it from a grandmother saving the inch-long threads left over from mending jeans or a coworker who eats the same leftovers for a week, it’s an adage we can all agree with. The less you waste, the more you have, and therefore, the less you want (or the more resources you have to get what you want). Reducing waste, or going so far as to become zero waste, can open opportunities in life and contribute to the beneficial stewardship of the planet. When you waste less, you will find that you want less and gain more.
Bea Johnson, zero waste advocate, speaker, author and educator has led a zero waste life since 2008. Her family of four generated just one pint jar of trash for all of 2015. While Johnson demonstrates how possible it is to live a zero waste lifestyle, zero waste living doesn’t happen overnight; it’s an adjustment that takes time and requires flexibility and self-compassion. To get started, Johnson offers five basic rules, in this order, to manage waste:
These are the rules for every material thing you purchase, consume or come to own, in a zero waste lifestyle.
A zero waste life style directly reduces impact on the environment in numerous ways. Here are just a few:
Zero Waste Living saves time and money:
The more stuff we buy, the more money we spend and the more time we spend centered on stuff and not experiences. For example, at children’s birthday parties typical gifts include plastic toys, stuffed animals, and other things that clutter up their room and can’t possibly be played with all at once. It is wonderful to be generous on someone’s birthday, but there are other ways to show appreciation. Here are a few tips for going zero waste with kids. When you have less stuff in your home, less time is spent caring for it, cleaning it, fixing it, or figuring out ways to get rid of it.
You can take it slowly on your path toward zero waste, or you can go all out; it’s a lifestyle choice, so it’s up to you. Here a few easy tips to help you get there, take the ones that work, leave the ones that don’t. Revisit these tips and others for a new challenge or idea.
Guest Author: Charlotte Low, Outreach Coordinator, CVSWMD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cassandra Hemenway, CVSWMD Outreach Manager, Charlotte Low, Outreach Coordinator, Cara Stapleford CVSWMD Eco-Americorps Service Member and Jan Lloyd, Zero Waste Events Coordinator all contribute to this blog.