Recycling service would turn grass clippings into cattle feed

Credit: KTVB

From your lawnmower ... to your local livestock operation?

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by Karen Zatkulak and KTVB.COM

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KTVB.COM

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 15 at 3:10 PM

BOISE -- There could soon be a way to dispose of grass clippings without dumping the unwanted piles in the local landfill.

That's because local waste disposal company Republic Services is working on a low-cost grass recycling program that would be available to its customers in Eagle, Boise, and Meridian.

What's more:  the company says the grass would be turned into cattle feed through a special underground anaerobic process.

Republic Services tells KTVB it's an idea they've been working on the plan for six weeks. They say it's a response to a problem trash crews face in the summer months. They say during this time the trash load almost doubles and most of the additional waste is grass.

To address the problem, workers came up with an interesting way to get rid of the grass while being environmentally responsible. They say customers would pay for a separate bin, with a tan lid used for grass in the summer, leaves in the fall, and extra trash in the winter.

During summer months, collectors would pick up the grass once a week, then take it to a local farmer to be recycled into cattle feed. If local city councils approve the plan, it would be offered for an extra subscription fee of $7.95 a month.

Rachele Klein tells us only grass can go in the bin, and no tree trimmings or other yard waste.

".. We will be depositing grass into silage pit and it will be packed tightly in tarp and the grass will go through an anaerobic process like pickling, and after several months the rancher can use it as cattle feed," Klein said.

She said the recycled feed will be tested before being fed to cattle, since it's a new process. Klein also said the company and cattle owners would address problems like contaminants and fertilizer in the grass clippings to make sure the feed is safe.

Klein said there is already a waiting list for the future program and her company is hoping that five percent of its customer base will buy into the program.

However, before that happens, each city council must still approve the grass recycling plan.

Republic Services hopes to be recycling grass into cattle feed by July 1.

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