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Issues Of The Environment: Leave The Leaves--Putting Organic Waste To Work

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It's that time of year where leaves fall to the ground. What is the best way to dispose of such yard waste?  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Master Compost Class instructor Nancy Stone about the ecologically best ways to clean up your lawn debris. 


   *   According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, leaves and other yard debris account for more than 13 percent of the nation’s solid waste—a whopping 33 million tons a year. There are many greener alternatives for leaves and yard waste such as composting or finding ways to work debris into a source of nutrients for the landscape or habitat for wildlife.

   *   One of the easiest solutions for fall leaves is to mulch them into the lawn with a mower where they are a source of natural fertilizer for the lawn and help to suppress weeds like dandelions.  Leaves also provide an impost resource for wildlife like turtles and toads, birds, mammals, and invertebrates that rely on leaf litter for food, shelter, and nesting material.

   *   Nancy Stone heads up the Michigan Master Composter class offered through Washtenaw County, Project Grow, and the AAPS Rec & Ed program, and she is an expert regarding the best practices for organic waste, an often overlooked source of GHG emissionsin the landfills.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at

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