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Burning Off or Composting?

We’ve got a pile of leaves in our backyard that I don’t know what to do with. Winter is over, (OK, so it might still snow), but spring has sprung, the flowers are coming out and so are the gardeners.

This weekend marks to start of burning off month, where residents can mozy on down to Castlegar City Hall, pick up a burning license, pull out the gas can and light up a big fire.

Where I come from, they stopped this years ago; but around here, the residential density, the amount of organic garden waste generated over the winter months and prevailing winds make burning off a reality for most residents. Leaves, branches and grass cuttings are pretty much fair game, with the pallor of burning leaves hanging around town today.

Is this more global warming fuel? Or is it an acceptable practice in the 21st century? If we can find a way to get this stuff to compost, at least we can use it to grow fruit and veggies in years to come.

The regional district is proposing a composting facility across the river, will this be able to handle the seasonal influx of leave matter? Most backyard composting facilities are not big enough to digest a pile of leaves as big as ours, does anyone have any tips to get things going with leaf matter?

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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