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Know the Facts - Composting and Grasscycling

Garden and yard trimmings (e.g, leaves, grass clippings) account for up to 20 percent of the waste disposed of in landfills. Obviously, it makes sense to reduce, reuse, and recycle these materials instead of burning them. Through the two processes described below, yard trimmings and garden scraps can be recycled to improve and beautify the garden and landscape.

Composting
Grasscycling

Composting is a technique that is used to accelerate the natural decaying process. A compost pile is a collection of organic materials (materials made from plants and animals) such as leaves, yard trimmings and fruit and vegetable scraps that will decompose over time to create compost.

Compost is the end product of the decomposition of these materials. It improves soil in a number of ways. Compost increases aeration (the ability of air to circulate), water-holding capacity and helps plants absorb nutrients. By making your own compost pile in the backyard, you can reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill.

The "Do Your Part: Compost at Home" fact sheet contains additional information on how and what to compost as well as benefits of composting where you live.

Grasscycling is recycling grass clippings by leaving them on your lawn instead of collecting them for disposal. It can help produce a healthy lawn while at the same time benefit you, your community and the environment.

More importantly, grasscycling can be an extremely effective alternative to using open burning to get rid of your grass clippings. The grass will decompose and return both nutrients and water back into the soil for the rest of the grass to use. It also helps prevent evaporation of water from the soil and around roots of grass. This reduces the need to water your lawn, saving water resouces, too.

The "Do Your Part: Grasscycle" fact sheet contains additional information.

DHEC's Smart Gardener Program is designed to help you learn the basics of going green in your backyard.

The S.C. Forestry Commission has information on Firewise Landscaping and Construction techniques (pdf).