Yard waste debris such as grass clippings, leaves and tree prunings are estimated to make up 18% by weight and 10% by volume of the municipal solid waste stream. During the growing season, yard waste can amount to 50% or more of the residential solid waste stream in some Indiana communities.
Yard waste not only takes up valuable landfill space, but can contribute to landfill gas production, acidic leachate production and settling problems as well. Yard waste also reduces the efficiency of incinerators because of the waste's high moisture content. Keeping yard waste out of the trash truck saves money and protects the environment. Yard waste is banned from Indiana's landfills and the open burning of leaves and other yard waste is restricted in Indiana.
Learn how to properly take care of your yard waste and other organic materials:
- Reduce yard waste
- Learn about worm composting/vermiculture
- Land Quality in Indiana: Registered Composting Facilities in Indiana [PDF]
- U.S. EPA: Composting At Home
Development of Local Composting Programs
The landscape management practices of residents will have to be changed as yard waste management practices are incorporated within the overall solid waste management system of a community. However, with careful planning and an aggressive public education program, a successful yard waste management strategy can be designed and implemented which will allow homeowners to participate through a program that suits their lifestyle.
As Indiana communities plan for the future, yard waste management programs are recommended as a way to achieve solid waste diversion goals and comply with Indiana's Yard Waste Disposal Ban which has been in effect since September 30, 1994.