nwnews-now : local news in your e-mail box as it happens

Home & Garden

Ecology suggests alternatives to burning debris

burning alternatives Spring arrives, and so does yard and house waste. Here are some suggested alternatives from the Department of Ecology to burning the debris:
   Compost yard waste. Composting is a great way to turn plant waste into a rich soil conditioner for lawns and gardens.
   Take yard waste to a chipping business. Some landfills provide chipping and composting services.
   Rent a chipper with neighbors. Sharing the cost and receiving a mulch product benefits a greater number of people, the yard, and garden.
   Recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, and metal. Recycling helps the environment by conserving natural resources and energy, saving landfill space, and preventing pollution of air and water.
   Create less garbage by buying durable products and looking for products with less packaging. Use a garbage collection service or haul waste that can't be recycled instead of burning it.
   If you live in an area where burning is allowed, make sure there isn't a temporary burn ban in effect.
   Never burn: asphalt, cardboard, construction debris, dead animals, garbage, metal, paper, petroleum products, plastics, rubber, or treated wood. These materials release toxic pollutants into the air and are recognized as a significant health risk and public nuisance.
   Don't use a burn barrel. The design of burn barrels restrict the flow of oxygen to the fire, resulting in excessive amounts of smoke.
   Open burning emits carbon monoxide and particulate matter and can block beautiful scenic views. Carbon monoxide is a gas that interferes with the blood's ability to supply oxygen to the body causing headaches, drowsiness, and even death. Particulate matter is composted of tiny particles of soot, dust, and unburned fuel suspended in the air. These particles can cause lung damage and even cancer. Open burning creates a smoky haze which can block scenic views.