Reduce and Recycle Yard Waste in Prince William County

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Provided by Prince William County Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division

Reusing and recycling your yard waste can reduce waste going to a landfill and make your garden and lawn beautiful and healthy in the process. Yard Waste is one of the largest categories of waste. It makes up more than 13% of the total trash generated nationally as well as in Prince William County. Composting and “grasscycling” can be effective yard waste management techniques.

Grasscycling

Grasscycling is a simple and natural approach to lawn care – just leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. The grass decomposes quickly, releasing valuable nutrients back into the soil. Aside from the ease of it, grasscycling saves time, money and the resources and energy needed to pick up and handle the clippings for composting or landfilling. Grass clippings are 75% to 85% water. When you mow regularly, clipping quickly decompose and release nutrients to fertilize the lawn. When practiced in conjunction with proper lawn management, grasscycling reduces water and fertilizer requirements. This saves money and benefits the environment.

With the bag removed, any lawnmower can grasscycle,. However, if the mower does not have a safety flap that covers the opening where the bag fits into the chute, or a plug for the chute, purchase a retrofit kit. Do not compromise your mower’s safety systems.

To find out more about grasscycling, mowing height, watering, lawn management, etc., visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension Lawn and Garden webpages.

Composting

Another good recycling technique for your lawn and garden is composting. Composting recycles waste to create a valuable soil amendment. Prince William County’s new yard waste program requires residents to place yard waste in paper yard waste bags or in a container labeled “Yard Waste” for curbside collection by their trash and recycling collection company from March through December. The collected yard waste is commercially composted at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility.

Instead of collecting leaves and grass clippings for collection and composting at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility, residents may gather material and compost it on site. Compost is one of the most valuable resources for beautifying your landscape. Compost is produced when organic matter is broken down by bacteria and fungi. Raked leaves, mowed grass and trimmed branches are some of the ingredients you can use to make compost for free. Compost can be used throughout a landscape: dig it into gardens and flower beds, add it to the soil when renovating a lawn, or use it in potting soil.

Compost has numerous benefits for soil, plants, and the environment. Compost assists the soil in holding nutrients, lessening the need for chemical fertilizers, and preventing the leaching of nitrogen into water. Compost promotes healthy plants that are less susceptible to diseases and insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides. Compost reduces soil erosion and water runoff. Plant roots penetrate compost-rich soil easier and hold the soil in place. Water can run down into lower soil layers rather than running off.

Special Compost Awareness Event

To learn more about backyard composting, attend the Prince William Compost Awareness Day event on Saturday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility, 13000 Balls Ford Road, Manassas. The compost event, hosted by the Prince William County Solid Waste Division, is free to the public.

Event attendees can get tips and techniques on composting and gardening from the local Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers. Keep Prince William Beautiful will be there with volunteer opportunities to share. Compost operation contractor Freestate Farms will provide free compost samples and offer a discount on compost. Bring a bucket for the free sample. Residents may also purchase an affordable backyard compost bin kit.

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