EPA estimates show that in 2003 there were 28.6 million tons of yard trimmings generated as MSW. Yard trimmings include grass, leaves, and tree and brush trimmings from residential, commercial, and institutional sources. According to the EPA, yard trimmings are assumed to contain an average by weight of 50% grass, 25% leaves, and 25% brush.
In the past the EPA based its estimates of yard trimming generation on only sampling studies and population and housing data. During the 1990s it began to take into account the expected effects of local and state legislation on yard trimmings disposal in landfills. For example, in 1992 only eleven states and the District of Columbia had laws prohibiting or discouraging residents from disposing yard trimmings at landfills. By 1997 another twelve states had such legislation in place. The EPA believes that this increased the use of mulching lawn-mowers and the practice of backyard composting of yard trimmings, thus reducing the amount of yard trimmings in MSW.
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