PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Fallen trees and piles of leaves can find new life in Fairmount Park's Organic Recycling Center. There, Philadelphia residents can pick up free gardening materials to keep the city green.
"The folks here at the center turn those materials into products," said Natalie Walker, Sustainability Director with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. "And residents can pick up, for free, up to 30 gallons of materials including mulch, wood chips, firewood and compost."
Parks and Recreation estimates the recycling initiative saves the city $300,000 in transport and disposal fees. Local businesses can also register to participate in dropping off their waste and scraps to become recycled materials.
In addition to providing free materials to residents, the Organic Recycling Center ships them out to a network of 50 community gardens and orchards within the Parks and Recreation Department.
One of the goals is to foster a new generation of gardeners and encourage existing gardeners to keep growing. Gardens in Philadelphia are excellent for the sake of growing food, connecting with nature, and promoting healthier lifestyles.
"In Philly, we can't grow in the ground in a lot of spaces throughout the city because the soil is contaminated," said EmmaKate Martin, Farm Philly Manager with the Fairmount Park Conservancy. "And so, our main recommendation is always to grow in raised beds. So, having access to the compost makes the raised bed gardening more affordable."
Fairmount Park's Organic Recycling Center is open five days a week year-round and is also open on Saturdays starting in April and ending in November. The address is 3850 Ford Rd, Philadelphia, PA. To learn more and how to get involved as a Philadelphia resident, visit their website.
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