April 29, 2014
MADISON - Many Wisconsin residents perform the routine task of taking out the garbage once a week, but state environmental officials say that almost one-quarter of what is thrown out isn't really garbage at all.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, nearly 25 percent of the trash produced in households weekly is organic material that could be composted. That's why the agency is inviting people all over the state to learn and compost more during International Composting Awareness Week May 5-11.
"Composting has a lot of benefits and can be done in a variety of easy and problem-free ways," said Ann Coakley, Waste and Materials Management director for the DNR. "This is a worldwide event, and it's a great opportunity for folks to start composting at home or work, or learn more about the benefits of composting."
Organic materials that have traditionally been considered waste - grass clippings, leaves, vegetable scraps and coffee grounds, for example - can sidestep the trash can and become a household staple in the garden or backyard.
"The end result of composting is a nutrient-rich, soil-like material that can be used in many ways," said Brad Wolbert, Recycling and Solid Waste chief for the DNR. "People can sprinkle compost into their lawn soil or use it in their gardens. It can also be used as mulch around trees and shrubs. The benefits are just great."
Wolbert noted that compost improves the health of lawns and gardens by providing organic material and nutrients to soil. Home composting ultimately saves people money by reducing the need for fertilizers, and municipalities spend fewer tax dollars collecting trash and yard material. Compost also saves water, since it helps soil hold moisture and reduces water runoff.
Since state law bans yard material from Wisconsin landfills, composting is also an environmentally-friendly option for managing leaves, branches, grass clippings and other yard trimmings.
Home composting isn't complicated, and the DNR website has helpful resources for people to learn more and get started. Here are some quick tips to remember.
To find more information about composting, go to the DNR website dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "compost." You can also get a free copy of the DNR's poster titled "Garbage to Gardens: Compost Grows" by contacting Elisabeth Olson at 608-264-9258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert, 608-264-6286