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Composting Is Green Alternative to Burning Leaves

September 22, 2005

Category: Environmental Science


Before you pile up your leaves and burn them this fall or put them out at the curb for the city to pick up, you may want to consider an alternative that will make the air easier to breathe and also make your garden grow.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Catawba College Center for the Environment will offer a workshop on composting that will help you use your leaves and food scraps as a resource, not a waste product.

The workshop will be led by Darrell Blackwelder, horticultural extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, Dr. John Wear, director of the Catawba College Center for the Environment, and Amanda Hooker, Catawba environmental science student.

Blackwelder notes that composting is not just good for the lawns and gardens of people who adopt this sustainable recycling practice. It’s also good for the community.

Composting reduces air pollution that comes from burning leaves and lessens the burden on the sanitary water treatment systems, which must increase the use of chemicals to treat heavy deposits of food waste from disposals. “We have real air quality issues in this area, so anything we can do to reduce the pollutants we put into the air is going to help us all,” Blackwelder says.

Wear notes that both city and county residents can do their part to help the community and at the same time produce rich humus for their gardens. “For county residents, composting leaves can reduce air pollution,” he says. “For city residents, composting food products and leaves can reduce transport costs and, in some cases, reduce the amount of waste that is carried to the landfill.”

The workshop will cover how to compost lawn and food waste and why it is important. The leaders will also entertain questions about what works and what doesn’t and how to remedy problems that may arise. In addition, composting bins will be on display.

The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 224 of the Center for the Environment building. It is free and open to the public.