The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

October 12, 2013

Paper or plastic? Go paper for leaves

MERCER COUNTY — Raking leaves is an autumn ritual in its beginning stages for this season.

Homeowners and others who bag them for collection could do Mother Earth and some hardworking farmers a favor by using paper instead of plastic, says Nick Shorr, of Pennsylvania Resources Council.

Paper composts. Plastic doesn’t. It’s as simple as that, he said.

Shorr works to set up regional composting and recycling initiatives with the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that has dealt with environmental issues for nearly 75 years.

Its “Please, don’t be a litterbug” slogan is familiar to all who have been seeing and reading it for decades.

PRC, founded in 1939, was involved in the roadside beautification programs of the 1960s. It began promoting recycling in the early 1970s and continues that work, Shorr said, in part by linking municipalities and waste haulers with farmers who compost leaves raked up by residents.

PRC seeks to keep yard waste out of landfills and make it as easy as possible for small farmers to turn it into natural fertilizer to rebuild soil.

Tri-County Industries, Pine Township, and other haulers collect bagged leaves that farmers in southern Mercer and northern Lawrence counties turn into fertilizer used in vegetable, hay and grain fields through a PRC initiative, Shorr said.

He approached the city managers of Sharon and Farrell to enlist them in the “paper, not plastic” effort and learned that he would have to appeal to homeowners and other leaf rakers directly.

“The city managers told me they can only recommend that people use paper bags instead of plastic,” Shorr said. “They can’t require the use of paper bags because they have no way to enforce any rule like that.”

Since plastic can’t be composted, the farmers have to tear open the bags, a time-consuming and gigantic chore for small operators who always have more work than time to do it. Residents’ use of paper bags would streamline the leaf disposal process, Shorr said.

Farmers would much prefer receiving leaves from haulers in paper bags that compost along with the leaves they contain, Shorr said.

“The 30-gallon craft paper bags are widely available and cost $1.88 for a 5-pack,” he said of the bags made of the same brown paper as grocery bags.

“The leaf bags are made of a sturdier paper. They can get wet a little and they don’t rip,” Shorr added.

PRC is involved in other programs to divert compostable materials from landfills.

“One of the keys is to keep disposal as cheap as possible and without needing a lot of fancy and expensive equipment,” he said. “We hope people want to be part of the effort helping the  farmers who turn backyard leaves into fertile soil.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story