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Thank You: Earth Day: Turning green waste into "brown gold"

May 18, 2002

The recent Earth Day 2002 Festival at the Imperial Valley Expo was a great event organized by Madaleine Macholtz and Stephanie Collins. I would like to thank them for allowing me the opportunity to demonstrate the art and science of home composting. I would also like to thank my volunteers, Susana Hernandez and Oswaldo Cura, for working the composting table, dispensing gardening information and helping children sow seeds into recycled newspaper pots.

Home composting serves many purposes. By recycling yard trimmings and kitchen scraps, we can create soil-en-riching humus to use in landscaping and in our gardens. Composting is also a vital solution to minimizing the amount of material deposited in our landfills, a goal of state mandates. Although more Americans are realizing the environmental merits of recycling aluminum cans, glass, plastic bottles and paper products. Other "waste" from the yard and kitchen is not being recycled. It is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency that over one-third of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream consists of organic materials.

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Americans dispose of over 28 million tons of yard trimmings and 21 million tons of food residuals each year. Instead of ending up in our saturated landfills, this organic waste can be recycled through the age-old process known as composting.

I believe in 10 years, home composting will be just as common as recycling aluminum cans. Workshops such as this at the Earth Day 2002 Festival will help home composting become a reality here in Imperial County.

VINCE J. ZAZUETA

Educational demonstration garden project coordinator

Imperial Valley Food Bank

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