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September 28, 2010

MADISON - As leaves start to fall across Wisconsin, state natural resources officials are reminding people that autumn is an excellent time to start composting or improve a home compost pile. Composting can help residents save money on fertilizer, save municipalities money on yard waste collection and protect the state's air quality.

Composting is much better for the environment than burning leaves, branches, weeds and other yard materials.

"Burning yard waste can cause health problems for your family and neighbors, pollute soil and water, and start wildfires," says Kate Cooper, recycling and solid waste section chief for the Department of Natural Resources Waste and Materials Management Program.

State air quality and fire control rules regulate the burning of yard materials in Wisconsin, and a growing number of communities have local rules in place that restrict or completely prohibit burning yard materials.

Composting leaves, grass clippings and branches puts them to good use. "Composting not only helps keep our air clean and prevents wildfires, but the compost itself is a wonderful, valuable product." Cooper says.

Composted yard materials keep soil healthy and provide nutrients for lawns and gardens, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Urban residents who don't compost on their own property often have access to a community compost site.

State law bans yard materials from landfills, but there are a number of ways residents can manage leaves and other compostable materials in their back yard or garden.

Here are a few tips for composting or reusing yard materials:

More information on home composting and vermicomposting is available on the DNR Web site and on the UW-Extension website (exit DNR: search publications for "composting").

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Cooper - (608) 267-3133

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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