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Indiana Twp. collection, recycling program turns leaves into topsoil

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 4:00 p.m.

Indiana Township residents who recycle leaves this fall will reap the benefits far into spring.

Public Works Foreman John Carson said leaves collected during the next six weeks will be composted into topsoil for use throughout the township next year.

“In keeping with the environmentally responsible attitude, we will once again have a leaf recycling program,” he said. “The bags will be taken to a site in the North Hills and we'll pick up the topsoil in the spring.”

Leaf collection runs through Dec. 2. Bags should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. Monday for pick up each week.

The public works department will only haul biodegradable bags that are purchased at the township building, 3710 Saxonburg Blvd. The cost is $3 for five bags. Plastic bags will not be accepted.

Township Manager Dan Anderson said the practice is strongly recommended for the sustainability benefits.

“It's good for the environment and we want people to do it,” he said.

Not only does recycling leaves save significant space in landfills, but the compost that results is a double benefit.

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, compost enriches soil by suppressing plant disease and pests. It also cuts the need for chemicals in the lawn and garden.

Anderson said township residents have done an impressive job over the last few years. They put out about 13 tons of leaves each fall.

“That equals about 750 bags of compost,” he said.

In the spring, Carson and his staff use the compost for projects including seeding township parks, backfilling curbs and installing storm sewer lines.

“We make good use of it,” Anderson said.

Only leaves, not brush or yard clippings, can be placed in the recycling bags. There is a separate pickup for yard waste on Dec. 18 that includes garden residue, shrubs and twigs.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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