Reusing Downed Branches and Leaves to Beautify Carolina | Tar Heels Together

Reusing Downed Branches and Leaves to Beautify Carolina

 Reusing Downed Branches and Leaves to Beautify Carolina

A scene in the Coker Arboretum on April 12, 2021 on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC (Photo by Jeyhoun Allebaugh/UNC-Chapel Hill).

When trees, limbs and leaves come down at Carolina, they never actually leave campus. They are transformed to beautify the landscaping in a new way and keep 360 tons of material out of landfills each year.

Rob Holliday, University Communications, Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

When trees, limbs and leaves come down at Carolina, they never actually leave campus. They are just transformed to beautify the landscaping in a new way.

Nearly all of the wood chips that are dispersed around Carolina are made from campus landscape waste that has been repurposed into mulch.

“When we lose trees on campus — or limbs or even the leaves — that material never actually leaves the campus. We haul it off to Carolina North where the Grounds recycling yard is,” said Tom Bythell, the University arborist. “We actually have a machine that will grind it up. And when we get around to mulching, which is usually a month or two before graduation, we mulch the campus with our enormous pile of mulch.”

Converting the waste into mulch keeps nearly 360 tons of material out of landfills each year and avoids disposal costs. Bythell estimates that not having to buy mulch to spread on campus saves Carolina $80,000 to $100,000 each year.

“That means that we can use that money for flowers, more shrubs or rejuvenating areas,” Bythell said. “We want the campus to be as pretty as we possibly can.”

Hear this video with audio descriptions or read more stories from UNC.edu.

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