Yard waste is the material generated from caring for lawns and yards – grass clippings, leaves, and prunings from shrubs and trees. Most homes generate some level of yard waste each year. With the passage of SB 530, yard waste was banned from landfills in the state of Missouri. By banning yard waste from landfills, the law encouraged not only home composting, but the development of commercial businesses that manage yard waste and create valuable products such as compost and mulch.
Composting yard waste provides a number of benefits:
- Recycles nutrients back into the soil.
- Reduces yard waste volume by as much as 75 percent.
- Creates a soil amendment that can also be used as a mulch.
- Saves landfill space.
The process of composting is simply providing the right conditions for organic matter to break down into humus – a dark, rich, soil-like material that can improve soil drainage and aeration. The most efficient method includes shredding or chopping up both green and brown plant materials and layering them in equal measure. The compost pile needs to be moist, but not wet – similar to a damp sponge – so it may be necessary to water the pile to maintain the right balance. Kitchen waste can also be added to the pile, such as egg shells, vegetable scraps and coffee grounds.