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The Norfolk Transfer Station has made use of a new composting machine this year that turns yard waste into a beneficial organic compost for residential use.

Compost is available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis for those who load it themselves. This can be done anytime during operating hours. The transfer station will load small loads for a fee per load. Loading is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The transfer station is located at 600 E. Monroe Ave.

The $31,000 machine was ordered last year, with a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant supplying $20,000, paying for two-thirds of the machine.

From April 1 through Nov. 30 of each year, state law prohibits mixing grass clippings and leaves with household trash headed for the coalition landfill.

Organic compost is produced primarily from grass clippings, leaves and wood chips. Compost is a humus-like material that looks like dark topsoil and may contain small amounts of sticks or woody material. It has an earthy aroma and is high in organic matter containing other nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium.

Organic compost will improve the health of your soil and its structure. Beneficial microbes in compost aide in reducing soil diseases. Compost decreases the bulk density of the topsoil and increases moisture retention in the soil. Plants will benefit from healthy soils. Organic compost promotes increased root and leaf development and flower, fruit or vegetable production.

In 2017, the Norfolk Transfer Station applied for the Recycling Equipment Grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust to help purchase the new machine. The grant from the Nebraska Recycling Council was one of 85 grant projects in 2017 receiving $16.6 million in grant awards from Nebraska Environmental Trust.

The trust is funded by proceeds from the Nebraska Lottery and has awarded more than $265 million to more than 2,000 natural resource projects in Nebraska since 1993. The Nebraska Recycling Council is a nonprofit, membership organization of public and private organizations, as well as individuals, and has been a recycling advocate for Nebraska since 1980.

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