Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday afternoon Amanda and I begin to refill the newly empty "Green Waste" area

We recycle all of our organic waste at the Arboretum. Trees fall, pruning happens, leaves fall, weeds are pulled, containers plantings get retired when their season is over. We even compost our apples cores, those of us who don't eat the cores, orange peels, et cetera from lunch! We take this debris to the Brickyard, an old Brick production facility with a few kilns and buildings remaining, where it is sorted and stored for most of the year.

When we drive into this area with debris, we roughly sort it, choosing a pile: soil, that includes both soil excavated from the grounds and the remains of planted containers; green waste, that's weeds and softwood pruning remnants; wood, self explanatory; construction debris we get rid of in a dumpster.

Once a year this heavy equipment comes in and processes the good stuff; grinding, mixing, screening take place and the result is those huge piles of useful organic material. The green waste pile from the current year is ground and then composted for one year to kill weed seeds, so this year, last years pile becomes this year's usable compost.We have wood chips, leaf mold, screened topsoil, compost, and a good quantity of sort of general purpose mulch which is produced by grinding a combination of the above ingredients.The exact proportions are a trade secret, actually they vary depending on availability. We had, I'm going to guess, over 500 yards of mulch to use last year with a street value of around 10,000 dollars. That's in addition to smaller quantities of compost and leaf mould, which of course are more expensive per unit, and an essentially limitless quantity of wood chips. And we have two good sized piles of topsoil. Pretty good!

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