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Turn Fall Leaves into Compost

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
October 3, 2012; 12:16 PM ET

We are now well into autumn, and that means an abundance of yard and household chores. From cleaning out our gardens to prepping our homes for winter, to raking leaves, there is a lot to consider this time of year when it comes to working on your home.

Photo courtesy of jacki-dee

One aspect of leaf-raking many may not take into consideration is what to do with the leaves when they've finally been removed from the yard. People often just bag them up and leave them on the curb to be collected with their trash. However, there are better alternatives for the environment than adding to landfills.

Chemical reactions occur in landfills that produce an abundance of greenhouse gases, a mix of predominantly methane and carbon dioxide. Microbes feeding off of the waste in landfills cause the release of these gases into the environment.

Many cities now offer alternatives to leaf disposal to help keep unnecessary waste out of landfills. Composting centers will take leaves and use them as eco-friendly fertilizers. While some green house gases are still emitted during this process, the levels are significantly lower than those created in landfills.

If your town doesn't offer a recycling program for your autumn leaves, you can also compost them yourself. Shred the leaves you gather and put them in a compost bin with an additional source of nitrogen (like manure) to help it break down faster. The compost can be saved for the spring or used in the late fall as your final lawn fertilizer for the season.

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