Where do all those Christmas trees go after December 25? Already dreading the pine needles that will be falling abundantly from your once lively—and beautifully decorated—Christmas tree toward the end of December? Sounds like you need a game plan for ditching the tree before your living room, and the rest of the house, are covered in those prickly little needles, which, you have to admit are a pain—quite literally—to get rid of. You’re in luck! The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility is gearing up for the annual Christmas Tree Drop-Off program. Bring your tree to the Organics Recycling Facility, where it will be repurposed into mulch, compost, and other useful products in an earth-friendly manner. Your tree must be free of all non-compostable decorations, tinsel, and flocking before being dropped off—for FREE!  Trees will be accepted during the facility’s normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm), between December 26 and January 31. Why should you recycle your tree? Here are several reasons you might consider dropping your tree off at the Organics Recycling Facility: It will be repurposed into a useable product. It’s a great place to dispose of Christmas trees, as they are not able to be brought to a landfill. It…
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Tell your family, tell your friends, we want your pumpkins after Halloween ends! When the Halloween celebrations have concluded, and the trick-or-treaters have run your candy stash dry, it is time to start thinking about what to do with your festive décor. After receiving comments from area residents, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility is excited to offer a free pumpkin recycling program to the public for the first time. The program will allow residents to drop off their old pumpkins free of charge to compost them into a rich soil amendment. November 1 through 9, residents can drop off their pumpkins during the facility’s normal business hours Monday through Saturday. Pumpkins will only be accepted if they are free of decorations and candles as these items often contain metal, so be sure to remove those items beforehand! So, why is it so important to properly recycle your pumpkins? Each year, billions of pumpkins get tossed into landfills and are often submerged under multiple layers of waste. When this happens, the pumpkins don’t have access to oxygen, making it very difficult for them to decompose correctly. This often results in the production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that can be…
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October 1, 2019

Most people are aware that composting is a good thing to do, but not as many people know why that is. Let’s explore the benefits of composting. Before diving into the benefits, let’s start by defining compost: Compost is organic material that decomposes into a rich soil amendment. Anything organic can be put into a compost pile to decompose. This includes items like fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, fur, hair, bones, paper, napkins, leaves, grass, and brush, to name just a few examples. Our rule of thumb? If it was once living, it’s compostable. That being said, what benefits of composting come to mind? Perhaps the most common benefit that comes to mind is the breakdown of material that may otherwise end up in a landfill, and that’s a fantastic benefit! When we throw yard and food waste into the trash, it decomposes in a landfill and releases methane gas—a potent greenhouse gas. While most landfills have technology to capture much of this methane, eliminating the gas at its source is even better. Another advantage to composting is the conservation of resources. Here are a few examples: Water: Compost helps soak up water, slowly releasing it to plants. With enough compost…
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How’s your yard looking these days? Do you have a buildup of yard waste slowly but surely taking over? If neighbor Sue’s yard is looking pristine and you’re ready to show her what you’ve got, it’s time to take action! Grab your spouse, kids, friends… heck, even recruit neighbor Sue to help clean up the yard! Once your yard is the cleanest on the block—that’s right, nothing wrong with a little friendly (OK, we’ll say it… eco-friendly) competition—you can get rid of the waste, FOR FREE, at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility during our fall yard waste drop-off program. Running every Sunday from 8am-2pm in September and October, all Scott County residents and SMSC employees/team members are welcome to participate. Be sure to bring your ID or badge when you drop off. What you can ditch for free: Brush Leaves Stumps Source-separated organics (food waste) Wondering what happens to your old waste? You guessed it—it’s recycled! We take what would otherwise be tossed into landfills and craft nutrient-rich, natural compost, compost blends, and mulch for gardening, farming, landscaping, and more. Our Dakotah Roots products are available for retail and wholesale, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be seeing that…
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August 1, 2019

Looking to reduce your carbon footprint? Composting is a simple and effective way to do so! From decreasing landfill waste to improving air quality, it’s clear that composting provides a variety of environmental benefits. So, how can you determine what items will make for successful composting? Simply put, anything that is created from organic material can be composted. Since the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility serves as a large-scale composting facility, we are able to compost more products than your average backyard composting project. Below is a breakdown of a few items that either can or cannot be donated to the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility for composting purposes. Material Accepted: -Yard waste -Meat and fish Bones, scales, and shells -Dairy products Yogurt and cheese -Produce food scraps Peelings, pits, and shells -Coffee grounds -Wood shavings or saw dust (from untreated wood) -Bakery and dry goods Pasta, beans, rice, bread, cereal, nuts, shells, and dough -Herbivore pet bedding -Delivery pizza boxes Material Not Accepted: -Refrigerated and frozen food boxes Though these boxes may be made of cardboard, they have a waxy, plastic-like coating on them that does not breakdown in the composting process. -Pet waste Pet waste can carry harmful parasites and…
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To mulch or not to mulch? That is the question! For those who love to garden, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get your hands dirty with some good, old-fashioned summer gardening tips. Spoil your soil. Nothing will hinder plant growth more than poor soil—in order for your veggies to flourish, you need to focus on providing them with the most nutrient-dense soil possible. Take care not to compact the soil too much, and add in a nutrient-rich soil amendments like compost. The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility offers some excellent options for compost and compost blends! Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulch helps blanket the soil in your garden, shielding plants from too much sun and preventing moisture loss from evaporation. We recommend spreading a 2-inch-deep layer of mulch near your plants or veggies. Here at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, we have several different colors of mulch to choose from! (Are you sensing a trend yet?) Control the weeds. The summer heat doesn’t discriminate when it comes to enabling plant growth, and many types of weeds can go from tiny to gigantic in a short period of time. Weeds steal vital nutrients and moisture from your plants and vegetables,…
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While composting provides a variety benefits to the environment, the process of making compost can sometimes release unpleasant odors. These odors are a mix of dilute, invisible, gaseous compounds that can range from virtually unnoticeable to strong depending on feedstocks and management. Though the odors can sometimes be unpleasant, they are never toxic. So what causes these odors anyways? Compost is a rich soil amendment that is created during the process of organic material being broken down. This is a natural process called decomposition. Decomposition begins when feedstocks, water, and oxygen are combined. Tiny microorganisms then consume the feedstocks and give off water, carbon dioxide, and heat as a byproduct. This process can happen either aerobically, with air, or anaerobically, without air. Though material can still decompose without air through anaerobic respiration, it is not as successful as aerobic respiration and can also release some unpleasant odors. Compost is at risk of “going anaerobic” if the water content is above 65 percent or if the compost pile sizes are too large. This type of respiration will also produce sulfur compounds, which give off a rotten egg smell. Proper composting will go through aerobic respiration. In this process, carbohydrates are broken…
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Preparing your lawn for spring is much simpler than you might think! Most of these tasks are a one-time, if-needed application. Other than that, you don’t have to do much. Here is a simple guide to giving your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive this spring: 1. CLEAN Use a rake or a blower to clear up any leaves, twigs, or other garden debris that may have been left behind from winter. You can also rake up any matted areas of your lawn to help with airflow and to help encourage growth. 2. APPLY A PRE-EMERGENT If your lawn has a tendency to sprout crabgrass, it is important to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to help control crabgrass BEFORE the soil’s temperature reaches 50-65°F. Late April or early May is the best time to apply. Weed seeds will start germinating at this temperature so it is important to prevent this—crabgrass can be very challenging to get rid of. Note: It is only necessary to use a pre-emergent for crabgrass if you actually have crabgrass. Not all lawns do, and if you are properly applying a pre-emergent every spring for 3-4 years, you should not have a crabgrass problem anymore and…
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Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is the biological breakdown of organic wastes through specialized earthworms and microorganisms. Worms eat and digest kitchen scraps and other types of organic matter, leaving behind vermicompost. This is a combination of digestion by the worms as well as decomposition that occurs after the material is left behind by the worms. The decomposition process continues until you are left with compost that can be used as a soil amendment and source nutrients for plants. When any organic material is added to the soil, it improves its moisture-holding capacity and the soil’s porosity (open space between soil particles). You can easily vermicompost in your home in a clean, odor-free way as long as you manage the process properly! Essentials you will need include: An aerated container Moist bedding A few thousand red worms or earthworms Water Kitchen scraps A good way to determine what size container you need is to have roughly one square foot of surface for every pound of garbage. A shallow bin with more surface area is preferable over a deep one because worms tend to stick to the surface when feeding. You will need to keep the worm population healthy in order to…
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Do’s and Don’ts of Mulch Daydreaming about warmer weather, greener grass, and budding foliage? Don’t fret—the season of spring is upon us! There’s no better way to prep your lawn and add serious curb appeal than with a healthy dose of mulch. With color options ranging from tan to red, our mulch product line will match your project vision. Here at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, we take what otherwise would have been plopped into a landfill and create the perfect amendments to help your yard or garden stand out and flourish. For our mulch, we break down and repurpose all of the wood, brush, and branches that are brought to us from residents, commercial vendors, and our wood-grinding sites. To help you sift through the basics of Mulch 101, we’ve put together a list of common questions, do’s and don’ts, and a few tips and tricks to get your lawn and landscaping looking top-notch, just in the nick of time for spring.  Why should I use mulch? Mulch—both natural and colored—is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to rejuvenate residential and commercial landscaping. It enhances the look of any lawn or garden and is easy to use….
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