To rake or not to rake

Workmen clear up autumn leaves in Green Park on November 18, 2005 in London, England.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: So maybe you got lucky and just spent the holiday weekend relaxing with family. Or maybe you spent the weekend cooking, cleaning, and raking leaves with family. Well it turns out many of us are not getting rid of our leaves in a very green way.

Let's bring in Amy Palanjian, Deputy Editor of ReadyMade Magazine. She's with us from Des Moines, Iowa. Good morning.

AMY PALANJIAN: Good morning.

HOBSON: What should people do -- what is the most sustainable way to get rid of leaves?

PALANJIAN: The most sustainable thing you can do with leaves is to compost them. And that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to go all out and have worms and a bin and everything in your backyard. Most towns now will compost in their landfill, so you can have your leaves picked up which is a great thing if you have a lot of them. But if you just have a few trees that drop some leaves, it's better to use them around your yard. There are really great biodegradable bags out there that you can put your leaves in. There's one from a brand called BioBags, and it will decompose whether you send it to a landfill, or it gets picked up in the trash.

HOBSON: And what about a leaf blower?

PALANJIAN: You know, it's not really necessary and they can add a lot of noise pollution and also exhaust into the atmosphere, so we much prefer using rakes. I mean you get to enjoy the outdoors and you get a little bit of exercise while you're at it.

HOBSON: If that's the sort of thing that you want, or you send your kids out there to do it for you. Amy -- let me ask you this. How does the industry figure into this. I image that the plastic bag people and the leaf blower people have a stake in this fight.

PALANJIAN: There are more and more options of bags that do decompose, so I think that the industry is getting on board in a very green way. They want to make this as easy for people as possible. And with more municipalities composting and having efforts to be greener themselves, I think everyone has that goal in mind.

HOBSON: Do you ever stop over at the neighbor's house when you see them doing things the wrong way, and tell them they'd be a lot more sustainable if they put their leaves in a compost pile?

PALANJIAN: You know -- I actually saw my neighbors who had gotten their grand kids on board. And they were all out raking and putting their leaves in the paper bags provided by our town so my neighbors are actually doing a pretty good job.

HOBSON: Alright, Amy Palanjian, Deputy Editor of ReadyMade Magazine. Thanks so much for talking with us.

PALANJIAN: You're welcome.


For more with Amy Palanjian, and tips on how to deal with your fall leaves, check out the Marketplace Green Tip and Trade and submit your own Green tips.

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