Growth Rings

From leaves to compost – and beyond

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Ever wonder what happens to the leaves you haul to depots or rake into the street for a city of Portland pickup (if you live in a Leaf Zone)?

6286678297 10cd66da41 From leaves to compost   and beyond

Sunderland Recycling Facility's Jill Jacobsen shows FOT staff a 20-foot tall mound of compost (Brighton West)

On a sunny fall day, Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Jill Jacobsen gave Friends of Trees staff a tour of the Sunderland Recycling Facility and what remained of the compost made from last fall’s leaf harvest. Last year Sunderland received 11,505 cubic yards of leaves and made nearly 4,000 cubic yards of compost.

6286664011 0cc68c2689 From leaves to compost   and beyond

Sunderland keeps its compost close to 140 degrees during processing (Brighton West)

When the new leaf harvest arrives next month, pinecones and pine needles—and random objects like hair bands—will be culled from the mulch. Then the leaves will be placed in windrows for composting. Jill’s  crew will “turn” the compost when its temperature is between 131 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit, at least three times a month.

Asphalt, concrete, and other materials removed from city construction sites are also taken to Sunderland to be repurposed and reused in city projects. The city “recycles our own materials,” Jill said.

Sunderland also sells crushed rock and compost to the public.

–TR

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