Did you know that yard waste accounts for almost 14 percent of the municipal solid waste (MSW) generated each year in the United States? To put that number into perspective, that amounts to about 33.4 million tons of waste, or around 216 pounds of waste per person per year! Sources of yard waste include grass, fallen leaves, tree branches, brush trimmings, and other sources of waste that come from regular landscaping tasks. Grass clippings that come from regularly mowing the lawn is the most significant component of yard waste, accounting for almost half of total yard waste by weight. When measured by volume, fallen leaves are the biggest component, as any homeowner who has painstakingly raked and bagged leaves during the fall time knows.
Unfortunately, an enormous amount of yard waste ends up in our nation´s already overcrowded landfills. Those bagged leaves, grass clippings, fallen branches, and other sources of yard waste are actually the third largest component of generated municipal solid waste in the nation. Only paper products and food waste account for more MSW each year.
In this short article, we will briefly explain some of the main problems that come with sending your yard waste to the landfill, and then offer three simple ways to get rid of your yard waste in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way.
The Problems that Come with Sending Yard Waste to the Landfill
As any homeowner knows, getting rid of those fallen leaves during the autumn months can be a pretty huge task. The same goes for cleaning up your yard after a major storm blows down several tree limbs around your property. Yard waste is a type of “organic waste” which is defined as
“any material that is biodegradable and comes from either a plant or an animal. Biodegradable waste is organic material that can be broken down.”
In nature, organic waste slowly decomposes, eventually returning to the soil. In healthy ecosystems, organic waste can enrich soil fertility and play an important role in supporting the community of organisms in the soil. When sent to a landfill where plastics, metals, and other types of inorganic waste abound, organic waste causes several serious problems as it breaks down.
Due to a lack of oxygen and other important factors, sources of organic waste, such as yard waste, actually break down through a process known as anaerobic decomposition when it’s buried in a landfill. Those grass clippings, tree limbs, and bagged leaves produce acidic chemicals which combine with liquids in the rest of the inorganic waste to form potentially dangerous leachate and landfill gas.
Methane is one of the main components of landfill gas, and is one of the most potent greenhouse gasses. According to one recent study from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
“municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.5 percent of these emissions in 2020.”
Top 3 Tips for Getting Rid of Yard Waste in a more Environmentally Friendly Way
If bagging your leaves and grass clippings to be sent to the landfill causes so many environmental issues, what other strategies can homeowners use to get rid of their sources of yard waste?
Tip #1: Simply Let your Yard Waste Decompose in Place
One simple and efficient way to drastically reduce the amount of yard waste you send to the landfill is by simply letting your yard waste decompose in place. Instead of raking and bagging the leaves that fall in the autumn, let them naturally decompose into the soil around your yard. Leaves usually take somewhere between 6 to 12 months to break down into compost on their own. Similarly, grass clippings can be allowed to naturally decompose, simply by taking the bag of your mower. If a strong storm knocks down major tree limbs, you can chop those limbs into smaller places and place them around the bases of trees where they will slowly decompose as well.
Tip #2: Create a Backyard Compost Pile
Of course, not everyone will prefer the untidy and disordered look of a landscape that may come with the simple approach of letting your yard waste decompose in place. In some areas of Fort Worth, homeowners associations (HOA) may actually have neighborhood ordinances requiring certain standards of landscaping practices.
If you have the space, creating a backyard compost pile can drastically shorten the amount of time that it takes for sources of yard waste to decompose into fertile compost that you can then spread around your landscape. Instead of decomposing slowly over a year (or more), compost piles can turn grass clippings, fallen leaves, and even small branches and wood chips into fertile soil amendments that can be used for vegetable gardens, fruit trees, flowers, and more.
Composting is defined as the controlled decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms into a fertile topsoil. In recent years, many cities and towns have begun to implement city-wide yard waste recycling programs. This is one of the reasons why the total amount of yard waste sent to landfills across the country has decreased by about 50 percent in the last two decades.
In the City of Fort Worth, yard trimmings and brush are collected separately from garbage. These sources of yard waste can also be taken to a facility where they’re turned into mulch. Any Fort Worth resident can then pick up bags of mulch for free at any of the city’s four Drop-Off Stations.
Tip #3: Hire Junk King of Fort Worth for your Yard Waste Removal Teams
It is important to note that not every homeowner, business owner, and resident of Fort Worth will have the time, space, ability, or interest to manage their own backyard compost pile. Fortunately, Junk King of Fort Worth offers the most sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to deal with your sources of yard waste.
If you don’t like the idea of having dozens of bags of leaves and grass clippings sitting in your yard for several days waiting for your regular trash pickup, Junk King is here to help you.
For several years now, we have been the region’s top-rated junk hauling company, and for good reason! Besides offering the most affordable prices, the absolute best customer service, and the most efficient junk removal service, we are also one of the few junk haulers that has an environmental ethic at the foundation of our business practice.
Our junk removal teams take the extra time to sort through the junk items that we pick up. If the items are in decent shape, we make sure to send those items to thrift stores, donation centers, charities, and others who can help to get used furniture, appliances, and other household items into the hands of people who need them in our community. If the items are simply beyond repair, we also sort through them to ensure that every recyclable item is recycled. In the specific case of yard waste, we ensure that all of the organic waste we collect are sent to composting facilities so that this waste is not sent to our area landfills.
Junk King of Fort Worth offers its services to both residential consumers and throughout the City. We are proud to provide the region’s top-rated, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly junk removal services to the Fort Worth area, including the communities of Arlington, Fort Worth, Forest Hill, Haltom City, Kennedale and Richland Hills.
For large landscaping jobs where you plan of creating large amounts of yard waste, we also offer self-service junk removal through our MINI dumpster rentals. These dumpsters are ideal for DIY landscaping projects, and can give you a simple way to store your yard waste while cleaning up the space around your home or business.
When you’re in need of a junk hauling team for your yard waste and want to choose the greenest junk removal company in the industry, contact us or give us a call 1-888-888-JUNK (5865).