Commercial, public and residential landscapes can benefit the owner and the community through their beauty, the recreation they offer, and their positive environmental effects.
On the other hand, landscaping can cause damage to the environment, consuming fossil fuels, contributing to pollution of the soil, air and water, and burdening landfill space.
Removing all plant debris from the site is one example of an especially damaging practice. It removes food and habitat for birds, insects and beneficial soil organisms. It mines our local soils of nutrients and degrades soil health. Often, the result is an increased dependency on fertilizers and irrigation, as well as greater stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution of the bay.
Keeping plant debris on-site can:
- Foster living soils
- Increase the organic matter in the soil
- Improve soil structure and reduce compaction
- Retain topsoil
- Create healthier plants
- Reduce the need for irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides
- Reduce the air pollution from transporting plant debris long distances to be processed or landfilled
- Reduce green house gas emission caused by plant debris decomposing without oxygen in landfills
- Conserve landfill space
- Restore the soil's ability to absorb and filter water, reducing pollution and stormwater runoff into local creeks and the SF Bay
While it may not be possible or practical to keep all plant debris on site, there are more opportunities to reuse plant debris in our landscapes than are commonly practiced.
Alameda County has adopted a plant debris landfill ban. For more information, click here.
Learn more about Grasscycling & Bay-Friendly Lawn Care, Mulching, Composting ,and about How & Where to Recycle Landscape Waste.