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James H. May, P. Diane Relf, and Thomas Simpson

The Commonwealth of Virginia has mandated a recycling goal of 10% of municipal solid waste (MSW) by 1991, 15% by 1993, and 25% by 1995. Yardwaste (leaves, grass clippings, shrub and tree prunings) comprises 15% to 20% of MSW going to landfills daily. Yardwaste can be recycled by collecting material, piling it into large windrows, and allowing it to decompose by comporting. The finished product can be used as a soil amendment by nurseries, landscapers, farmers, local/state government projects, and homeowners.

The Virginia Co-op. Ext. Service at VPI&SU was authorized to perform a feasibility study on implementing a statewide yardwaste comporting program. The methods included a literature review, site visits in other states to assess technologies, and surveys to determine potential uses and users of composted yardwaste in Virginia.

The study was presented to the Virginia Dept. of Waste Mgmt. in November 1989, and as House Document No. 34 to the Virginia General Assembly. Three bills and one joint resolution are pending.

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James H. May, Thomas W. Simpson, and Diane Relf

Registered nursery operators on Virginia were surveyed to determine the potential utilization of yardwaste compost (YWC) from a proposed statewide yardwaste composting system. Respondents reported using 94,000 yd3 of potting medium, 36,000 yd3 of peat in containers, and 9000 yd3 of peat for field soil amendment, and retailing 144,000 yd3 of organic materials per year. Many of the respondents indicated that YWC could be used as a substitute for peat or other organic materials in potting mixes (56%), field-grown nursery crops (54%), and lawn establishment (21%), and more than 30% were interested in selling retail. Nursery operators (30%) expressed interest in contracting with municipalities to do the composting and using or marketing it directly.