As mowing crews fan out across nearly 28 acres of turf on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, they are taking the first step in a cycle of organic care and feeding of the University's lawns.
Grass clippings are collected for shipment to Full Circle Soils & Compost, a Minden-area company that uses the clippings as one of the ingredients in its line of nutrient-rich soils and nutritional additives.
The University, in turn, purchases composted soils and specialized organic products from Full Circle for use in its landscape beds and on its lawns.
The program diverts large amounts of green waste out of the region's landfills, said Marty Sillito, assistant director for Grounds Services in the University's Department of Facilities Maintenance Services.
During the summer mowing season, about 40 cubic yards of lawn clippings are recycled each month. That's the equivalent of 270 of those black 30-gallon garbage bags used by homeowners.
During the autumn, that figure doubles as the University gathers fallen leaves for recycling at Full Circle Soils & Compost.
Large-sized pieces such as tree branches are collected by Robert Kelly Tree Care of Reno.
Biodegradable food and kitchen waste from the University's residence halls, meanwhile, is sent to an off‐site composting facility.
The benefits of the University's recycling and composting partnerships extend beyond the diversion of materials that otherwise would end up in landfills.
"The all-organic composted products that the University purchases for its lawns and gardens reduce the reliance on chemical pesticides and herbicides," Sillito said.