There’s nothing better than seeing colorful leaves in the fall. But what do you do when they’ve all fallen and your yard is a mess? Winter is fast approaching, so it’s important to dispose of leaves before the snow melts. But how do you do it safely (and legally)? Here’s what you need to know.
CAN LEAVES BE BURNED?
Although many local governments prohibit the disposal of leaves and other yard trimmings in landfills, you may be tempted to burn leaves in your yard. However, burning leaves creates a fire hazard that can lead to air pollution and health problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend burning leaves – nor is it legal in most states. Open burning of leaves produces toxic compounds such as carbon monoxide.
CAN LEAVES BE PUT IN GARBAGE BAGS?
If you have a lot of time and a strong back (who does, right?), bagging leaves is one option. But remember, sticks, stones, pine cones, limbs and other debris should not be mixed with loose leaves. Also, check with your municipality or district to find out what weight or color bag limits have been set for leaf-filled bags. Then, when they’re ready for use, place them at the curb on your regular garbage collection day or as directed.
WHAT IS COMPOSTING AND HOW CAN I DO IT?
Composting is an environmentally friendly form of recycling that helps soil retain moisture and nutrients and increase fertility. When the leaves are composted together with the nitrogen-filled grass clippings, the resulting compost becomes an organic fertilizer or mulch for flower beds, gardens or around shrubs. The EPA website offers a free step-by-step guide on how to create your own compost pile in your backyard. The most important thing to note is what can and cannot be composted. Stay away from meat scraps and bones – they can attract pests.
Here are some different ways to compost:
- Make your own compost bin. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to make a difference for the environment.
- Mulching it’s a great way to add nutrients to your garden and put those leaves to good use in nature’s cycle. You can use a shredder to turn clean leaves or brush into mulch.
- Find out if your community offers leaf collection or wood waste collection. Leaf disposal laws vary depending on where you live. Visit your city’s website or call your local public works department for more information.
TAKE CARE OF YOU
Planning is smart, but life is always changing – and so are the seasons. Whatever’s in store, we’re on the journey with you.