Officials encourage Michigan residents to consider composting


FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2014 file photo, Brad and Sue Wyman paddle their 1930’s Old Town Guide canoe along the Androscoggin River as leaves display their fall colors north of the White Mountains in Dummer, N.H. The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday, July 19, 2019 upheld a state committee’s rejection of a proposal to bring a hydropower transmission line from Canada to markets in southern New England, possibly dealing a fatal blow to a plan that has raised concerns among communities and environmentalists that it would harm the region’s tourism industry and hurt property values. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

As we continue through autumn and catch the leaves changing, homeowners get ready to rake.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is encouraging residents to consider composting those leaves instead of burning them.

Composting provides landscape fertilizer and cuts down on kitchen waste like veggie scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells.

“Composting is an easy way to take care of fall leaves and has the added benefit of cutting down on smoke and airborne particles that can aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions,” said Jenifer Dixon, an air quality specialist at the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Many cities and townships prevent debris burning and it is also Michigan’s number one cause of wildfires. In 2018, DNR wildland firefighters responded to more than 300 fires, nearly one in three of those were caused by debris burning.

“Debris fires started with leaves, grass clippings and other light materials are difficult to manage and can be spread by wind,” said Dan Laux, state fire supervisor with the DNR. “Fires can quickly grow out of control and threaten homes and forest lands.”

Composting bins can be bought or built from low-cost materials, a lawn mower can shred leaves to compost them in place as a fertilizer for grass, and shredded leaves can be used to mulch perennial beds.

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