31 May 2010

Yard Waste Bags

I've been wanting to write about the compost I buy at the landfill for a while now. It's made from the yard waste of the residents of Charleston County, so there are no guarantees about anything. We can hope their piles heat up enough to kill or break down all the bad things like diseases, pests, herbicides, pesticides and weed seeds, but there is one thing that does not break down during the composting process - plastic.

People put their yard waste out for collection in plastic bags. I'm not sure, but the composting process probably begins by taking all of the yard waste and dumping it in a shredder, which puts very small pieces if plastic into the compost. I see it all of the time in the compost that I have gotten from the landfill and I think that has had a negative effect on my feelings about getting compost from them.

I decided this weekend to try something new and use the paper yard waste bags that you can buy at Lowes or Wal-Mart or other stores that sell lawn and garden items. I have two reasons for trying these out. The first one is I refuse to use plastic bags for my yard waste - it's obvious that the plastic is ending up in the compost that they sell. The second reason has more to do with the aesthetics of our landscape than anything else. For nearly four years I've been dumping piles of yard waste near the street every week without bagging it, and the city workers come by and pick it up with a large bucket/scoop loader attached to a dump truck. Over the years, or maybe it happened to very first time, the bucket has scooped up our grass in that one area and I want it back. Instead of complaining to the public works department all the time, I thought I would be proactive. By putting everything in bags, maybe they won't need to use the scoop on my yard waste and will leave any future grass untouched. I've got two full bags on the street now, waiting for pickup in a couple of days - we'll see what happens.

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