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Leaves belong in compost, not burn barrel

It’s that time of the year again; when leaves turn shades of bright orange and red, then fall to the ground, covering your lawn. Instead of burning yard waste though, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) encourages you to mulch or compost them for use as fertilizer on your lawn or garden. You can also use a wood chipper to mulch leaves and fallen branches.

Why does the state restrict what can be burned by residents? Because smoke from the open burning of trash or yard waste contains harmful pollutants, some of which are highly toxic, and can harm your family’s health. Because this pollution doesn’t stay on your property, it can also harm your neighbors’ health—especially those with asthma, allergies or emphysema. This pollution can also be bad for the environment because it contributes to ground level ozone and fine particle pollution.

The City of Indianapolis also prohibits the open burning of leaves and yard waste within city limits.

IDEM has produced a new video detailing the residential open burning laws of Indiana.

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