Methods employed in performing a feasibility study on a yardwaste composting program for Virginia

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Virginia Tech


Virginia is rapidly running out of landfill space. Recycling is seen as a way to alleviate some of the burden on our landfills. The Commonwealth of Virginia has mandated an ambitious recycling goal of 10% of our municipal solid waste (MSW) by 1991, 15% by 1993, and 25% by 1995. Yardwaste (debris such as leaves, grass clippings and shrub and tree prunings) comprises an estimated 15% to 20% of the municipal solid waste going into our landfills daily. Yardwaste can be recycled by collecting the material, piling it into large windrows, and allowing it to decompose by a controlled process called composting. The finished product can then be utilized as a soil amendment for use by nurseries, landscapers, farmers, local and state government landscaping projects, and by homeowners.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension Service at Virginia Tech was authorized to perform a study on the feasibility of implementing a statewide yardwaste composting program for Virginia. The methods involved in the study included information acquisition via a literature review, site visits in other states to assess technologies and a series of surveys to determine potential uses and users of composted yardwaste in Virginia.

The feasibility study was presented to the Virginia Department of Waste Management in November 1989 and presented as House Document No. 34 to the 1990 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. Several pieces of legislation, including three bills and one joint resolution, are currently pending concerning the results of the study.