While we are in the throes of summer, let’s look toward the next best season, fall.
I bring this wonderful topic up because sometime in the next two weeks, we will begin the grinding process for our yard waste that becomes a great mulch product for your property.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, there is a tremendous amount of land clearing happening in the county. Most of that yard debris ends up at our disposal facility on Philadelphia Church Road, Dallas.
Any homeowner who needs to dispose of their every week grass clippings, or tree and shrub trimmings also frequent this place. We are very particular as to what we allow as yard waste, as we know that after the grind, this material returns to folks as ground covers and soil amendments.
We do not allow any painted or treated lumber (most of that ends up, if in a separate load in our Construction and Demolition area) in yard waste. Treated lumber is manufactured by a process that infuses the wood with chromated copper arsenate.
Under pressure, the lumber is sealed in a tank and then the air is removed. This vacuum pulls the solution of chromium, copper and arsenic through the dense wood and acts as a preservative. The reason for these chemicals: chromium is a bactericide, copper is a fungicide and arsenic is an insecticide and as a threesome, act as a deterrent to decay.
Individually, all three can be toxic. However, the most concern comes from the leaching of the arsenic from the wood. Arsenic is all around us, but the form most commonly encountered in nature is an organic form, containing carbon, sulfur, oxygen and chlorine.
Organic arsenic appears to be excreted from humans before it can accumulate in our bodies. Unfortunately, it is the inorganic form used for wood treatment. This chemical does tend to bioaccumulate and is toxic to humans.
While it is most likely to leach out early in the life of the treated wood, the process of grinding the wood is providing a quicker mechanism to allow the chemical to be released into the environment. So for all of our health, we keep the yard waste free of treated wood of any kind, paint or pressure-treated.
We also ask for those using our facility to keep any trash separate from yard debris. Similar to our highways being mowed, when that commercial mower runs over litter, instead of one drink cup, there are 200 pieces of white litter scattered on the freshly cut grass, we really don’t want any trash in our yard waste.
No one wants to spread a mulch product on their property sprinkled with tiny pieces of trash. Most of the folks using our facility are very thoughtful and understand that their contribution is used for the next bigger purpose, this mulch acts as a vitamin and soil conditioner to the Carolina clay that we all have.
We are very happy to be able to provide this service back to our community …the best bargain in the county! We still sell our 2.5 cubic yard scoop of mulch for a mere $2 per scoop. We will sell to individuals, to commercial users, to farmers, to anyone who can utilize this product.
While this is a different product than the Black Gold sold by Keep Gastonia Beautiful from the facility on Duke Street in Gastonia, if you can allow the mulch to weather for a year or so, this mulch can very much serve as a compost product.
Mulch is generally better suited as a weed barrier, to cover in beds, as a pathway, fill in ditches, etc. So look ahead to your fall plans and plan on visiting the facility in September when we will have mulch available.
We sell on Saturdays only; it is a cash only process; no garb cards, credit cards or checks. We get started at 8 a.m. and stop at 4 p.m., and we take an hour break at noon for lunch.
Please call 704-922-7729 or 704-922-0267 for our start date in September. Give Keep Gastonia Beautiful a call at 704-866-6906 for their hours for Black Gold sales which will also be in September. Fall gardening is a wonderful way to keep your outdoor life engaged and you can eat your efforts.
Nan Kirlin is Gaston County’s recycling coordinator.