Green Tip of the Month – November

Raking up leaves and sending them off in plastic bags to a landfill has become the norm for families every autumn.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that leaves and other yard debris account for more than 13% of the country’s solid waste, equivalent to 33 million tons a year. Approximately 20% of Blaine County’s waste stream is comprised of yard and food waste. The buildup of organic matter in landfills release methane gas and contribute to climate change – in addition to the carbon dioxide generated by gas-powered blowers and trucks disposing leaves.

So, what’s a more sustainable approach to those leaves? Serving as a mulch for your garden. According to the National Wildlife Federation, leaves form a natural mulch that can help suppress weeds and fertilize the soil as it breaks down, protect perennial roots from cold temperatures, and provide habitat for wildlife species. All you need to do is apply 3-4 inches of leaves on your garden beds to receive the various environmental benefits – and have a circular economy of sorts, in your own backyard!