Yard waste can have a number of definitions. For some it means “green waste” such as grass trimmings or other plant material that can be used for beneficial results (more on this in a moment). The other definition refers to anything that’s taking up space in your yard that needs to be removed. This could include things such as old, chipped bricks from a garden wall or broken chunks of cement or concrete that were once part of a pathway or deck of a pool. In both cases yard waste removal is a topic that comes up when the amount of waste (trash or junk) becomes unsightly or hazardous.
Burbank residents like Bill Gottfried who lives on Riverside Dr. near the L.A. Equestrian Center tend toward the first definition, that of green waste, since he and other like-minded Burbank residents have take to composting. The process makes use of trimmings and other organic waste (such as food scraps) that can be placed in a container and decomposed to form nutrient-rich natural fertilizer that can be used to help plants grow in that same yard.
Bill is not the only one who makes use of yard waste in Burbank. Helen Spitz, one of Gottfried’s friends hopped on the composting bandwagon a few years after Gottfried taught himself how to do it. She dedicates her Kenneth Rd backyard to composting and a sizable garden. The process is simple and yet complex. A balance of temperature control, aeration and moisture is essential to achieving a good compost and avoiding the generation of fungus.
Yard waste levels that had contributed to municipal solid waste (MSW) amounts have dropped in recent years and one reason is the adoption of composting methods which have increased dramatically in the last two decades. Composting not only created a valuable, reusable product from waste materials, but the process also reduces the amount of waste due to things like evaporation and dissipation of gasses. Up to 75% of the total volume of green waste is lost to these processes.
After food and paper, yard waste is the third largest item that finds its way into a community’s MSW but the amounts have been decreasing. Other waste items (the second definition) are another story and solids such as masonry, concrete, metal and plastics have to be removed as they will not decompose like organic matter. Municipal trash collection often doesn’t cover items like these and so a yard waste removal company needs to be called into action. While Bill Gottfried and Helen Sptiz have been successful Burbank composters, Gottfried also had to use a yard waste removal service in the first place to make room for his composter. “I tore down the previous owner’s trellis and a small retaining wall,” he said. “All that junk was taking up the entire backyard so I called a junk hauling company to clean out my yard. Finally I had room to put in my composter.”
Gottfried now shares his composting successes (and failures) with other Burbank residents as well as those in the greater Los Angeles area. He says, “I work in Van Nuys and a lot of the guys know I compost. They get interested and so I teach them what I’ve learned.”
Whether it’s green (organic) waste or the detritus of demolition taking up space in on your lawn or patio, yard waste is something that needs to be dealt with one way or another. Composting of grass, leaves and food waste is one way. Hiring yard waste removal specialists is another. In both cases the yard is kept clean and the amount of MSW generated is decreased, which is always the goal.