(WGGB/WSHM) – Fall leaf cleanup is a seasonal ritual for many people, but some experts say you may want to think twice before rushing out with your rake.
It’s that time of year again. Green lawns are now covered in hues of yellow, orange, and red from leaves that have fallen. As landscapers and homeowners alike rush out to clean-up, some experts said it may be best to keep leaves on the ground. That’s because about eight million leaves end up in landfills, according to the National Audubon Society. Once in landfills, leaves often don’t receive enough oxygen needed to decompose and will end up releasing large amounts of methane.
Western Mass News spoke with Jon Benerakis, owner of Chestnut Hill Farm Services. He told us he actually takes leaves and turns them into soil. It’s a solution, he said, benefits him and his customers.
“I collect them and I bring them back to my farm and I process them. I put them in a big pile and I turn them over a couple times a year and in two or three years, it will actually turn into dirt and soil. I’ll take that dirt and soil, screen it, and I’ll be able to sell it,” Benerakis explained.
Benerakis told us many of his customers use the soil in their gardens. He said the high amounts of nitrogen from the leaves help vegetation grow quickly.
“If the leaves are broken down to very small particulates, then yes, it will help the growth and will put nutrients back into the soil,” Benerakis added.
Benerakis said this solution benefits everyone. It brings in additional income for him, offers his customers quality soil, and also addresses the environmental concerns about the leaves filling up landfills
“Everything that I do with my business is pretty much used and then processed back. It’s not like I just go to a landfill a dump it and then it’s just wasted material. I try to take as much from the business and give it back,” Benerakis noted.
As for the advice to keep the leaves on the ground, many communities, including Springfield, want people to remember that leaves can clog up storm drains if left uncleared, so that’s something to avoid.
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