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Use fallen leaves for gardens

Over 20,000 tons of leaves were annually gathered and converted into compost that was then distributed for free to various sites, including community and home gardens. However, the fall leaf composting collection was suspended in 2008.
Since then, tons of leaves has been placed into New York landfills, creating an unnecessary waste stream of reusable materials.
However the NYCLeaves: Project Leaf Drop is a coalition of community and botanical gardens, environmental groups, city agencies and community partners dedicated to redirecting fallen leaves from the trash bin to the compost bin.
Jessica Katz, project coordinator, has been a part of the project since it started back in 2008. She witnessed firsthand how much people are interested in doing what is needed for all gardens in New York.
“Last year a ton and a half of leaves were left at one of our drop off sites over the course of six work days,” said Katz, who also recalls a man traveling by train from one borough to another to drop off his bags full of leaves at one of the community garden.
Other options available for Queens residents are to look into their own neighborhoods and see if they have a community garden where they can distribute their bags of leaves. Other ways for residents to help is to mulch mow the leaves onto their own lawns as well as to construct one’s own holding unit or purchase a compost bin, which is discounted to New York City residents and provided by the NYC Department of Sanitation.
Queens residents can contact the Queens Botanical Gardens and take part in the Master Composter Certificate Program, where participants can give classes at schools, building compost bins at community gardens, giving workshops at block parties, and work at demonstrations sites or presenting slide shows to civic associations.
“We try to provide information for people on all levels,” said Katz.
Also available on the Project Leaves web site is a listing of various gardens where the leaves will be composted and used, or given to other community gardens and used there are well.
For more information go to nycleaves.org.

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