IDEM Offers Alternatives to Leaf Burning

By Scott Sarvay

IDEM Offers Alternatives to Leaf Burning

October 26, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2012 at 4:54 PM EDT

INDIANA (www.incnow.tv) - Hoosiers living in residential areas are told to dispose of their yard waste properly and without the use of fire because it could release harmful smoke into the air. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has a list of alternatives for the disposal of yard waste.

IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly recommends the following alternatives to the burning of debris:

- Mulching: Mulch leaves and twigs by chopping them up with a lawnmower. This returns nutrients to the grass.

- Composting: Pile grass clippings, leaves, branches, weeds, and some food scraps in a container or on the ground. They will break down naturally into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Many cities, towns and counties collect unwanted leaves and compost them.

- Chipping: Borrow or rent a chipper to break down leaves and branches. Wood chips can be spread around trees and flower beds to retain soil moisture and control weeds.

More information about leaf and yard debris disposal can be found on IDEM's website at www.IN.gov/recycle/5725.htm.

About Open Burning
It is always illegal to open burn trash. While IDEM never advises residential open burning, clean wood products, such as leaves and twigs, may be burned under conditions allowed by state rules and local ordinances. This includes burning clean wood products in an elevated, well-ventilated container with a mesh cover and with adequate fire extinguishing equipment nearby. Burning of any kind is prohibited in Lake, Porter, Clark and Floyd counties.

Visit www.idem.IN.gov/4148.htm to see Indiana’s open burning requirements and www.idem.IN.gov/4980.htm to view IDEM's open burning brochure.

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