Yard waste, tree branches, leaves, and grass clippings are banned from Indiana landfills. Luckily, you have other options for disposal.
Yard waste and other plant-based materials (like food scraps) are a major source of the greenhouse gas methane when disposed of in the landfill. In response, Indiana banned vegetation including brush and leaves from landfills. What can Allen County residents do with them instead?
Composting, or the natural breaking down of organic materials, is the best choice for yard waste, grass clippings, leaves, and food waste. Composting can be done on a large scale, like what takes place at the Fort Wayne City Utilities Biosolids Facility, or can be a small operation, like a backyard bin or compost pile.
If you do not need a container or the help of an attendant, you can pick up free compost and mulch at this facility!
How Should I Handle My Leaves?
The best practice with leaves is to simply leave them be. Leaves, much like grass, are full of nutrients that can help to fortify your lawn as they break down! Running your mower over them can speed this process up even more. Additionally, leaves are used frequently by wildlife as homes for the winter, so leave your leaves!
What About Twigs and Branches?
Twigs, branches, and other yard waste is too nutrient-rich to simply rot in a landfill. Breaking them down in an at-home compost pile or using a compost service will ensure that all of the resources that went into creating the vegetation can be returned to the soil.
Often, leaving foliage intact over the winter can be very beneficial to native wildlife who may use it as food, shelter, or nesting material.
What Should I Do with Grass?
The best option for grass is simple: leave it on your lawn! Grass clippings contain 80 to 85% water and decompose quickly when left to break down. These clippings can provide your lawn with 25% of its needed fertilization! Not only does bagging your grass take time, but you have to purchase more fertilizer to account for the lost nutrients. Additionally, it is a common myth that leaving clippings be creates thatch problems. To be most successful, mow only about 1/3 of grass' length at a time.