Matter in, matter out

I do everything I can to use the organic matter produced in my yard to sustain it, either as compost or mulch. So it really bugged me to haul some of the Arizona ash branches I trimmed last weekend out to the curb this morning for the city to collect. (I did this at 4 am, mind you. With an infant and unpredictable waking hours, you grab productivity wherever you can.)

I suppose I made a quick calculation – is the little bit of extra mulch worth the labor, gasoline and amount of time the stuff will sit around before I get to it? After all, using a 5.0 HP gasoline chipper-shredder probably tips the balance toward my activity being less eco-friendly and not very sustainable. Besides, there will be more ash branches to trim and mulch later, especially since some are now brushing the roof.

I decided to give my branches to the city for them to make mulch. (At least Austin has eco-waste pickup and re-use!) I guess the punchline here is that the city didn’t accept my presentation and refused to pick up the branches. So, they’ll go on the big pile of things waiting to be shredded anyway.

All of this made me remember, though, something a science teacher said to me when I went to collect bricks and stone he had offered on Freecycle. It doesn’t make any sense for a gardener to send away good biomatter if all you’re going to do is haul it back in, bought and packaged in plastic bags.

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