Taking care of your leaves and other yard waste

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) Teri Lewis has been composting in her yard for years.

It helps her plants make it through the frigid weather, but it's also the most efficient way to serve the environment.

"They will keep the plant warm, they'll keep moisture in there," Lewis said. "It also give the leaves a second chance at life coming back through compost."

What Lewis doesn't use in her own yard she bags up and takes to the compost facility at the Mesa County Landfill, at no cost.

"They're totally 100% biodegradable. You can fill them with your leaves and take them up to the compost facility and they will take the whole bag," Lewis said.

But if you're and old fashioned plastic-bagger, you can still dispose of yard waste without leaving the container behind for years to come.

Anything left on the side of the road for trash collection will end up in the landfill.

"But if you bring that material out here in that same plastic bag and dump those leaves out, you're then putting those leaves in a place where we can beneficially re-use it," said Cameron Garcia, the Solid Waste Manager at the Mesa County Landfill. "Because once it goes in the landfill, unfortunately, it stays in the landfill."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 18% of average landfill space is made up of yard waste, and when it gets buried it can't disintegrate.

Of course, the city's leaf pickup program eliminates the need for any bags at all.

Some residents can just move them to street and city crews collect them and bring them to the composting facility.

"So putting them out for the leaf program like this, it really completes the whole circle of them being re-used," said Darren Starr, Manager of Streets and Sanitation for the City of Grand Junction.

The trucks that collect the leaves run on different schedules in different neighborhoods, which can be found below.

If you're interested in using the bio-degradable paper bags to stuff with leaves, you can pick up five of them for free at Ace Hardware in Clifton with the online coupon, also located below.

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