When autumn leaves start to fall

It’s that time of year again when we’re surrounded by fallen autumn leaves and starting to think about the best ways to clear them from our gardens. One question often asked is can leaves be composted?

Leaves, in small quantities can be composted but a better option is to collect them and make leaf mould - a fantastic free conditioner for your soil and plants.

This can be done by filling black bin bags about quarter full with your leaves, rake them up just after rain so they’re nice and moist, then tie the bags at the top and pierce them to create lots of holes that will encourage air to circulate.

Stack the bags somewhere out of the way and forget about them for at least a year while the leaves break down. After a year or so you’ll have a rich, crumbly leaf-mould your plants will love.

Councillor Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Collecting and storing fallen leaves to make leaf mould is a great way to put your hard work clearing them up to good use. It will also help to reduce and reuse the excess garden waste that usually ends up in our bins at this time of year, while supporting the Council’s efforts to make Hackney cleaner and greener.”

The Council also has special, planned collections, carried out by the waste team, to deal with fallen leaves between October and December.

Extra street sweepers are brought in to bag the leaves, which are dropped off at arranged collection points. These are then taken to the new Millfields waste depot where they get bulked and transported to Edmonton. There they are shredded, composted and matured under carefully controlled conditions, and the compost produced is offered back to Hackney for parks and schools.

Park rangers also collect fallen leaves in the parks across Hackney. The majority are composted on site and the leaf mould produced is used to enrich park soil.

For more information about waste prevention in Hackney, visit the Council’s website: