Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Yardwaste Bags are a Mixed Bag

Among those who are passionate about the need to revise our leaf/brush/yardwaste collection policy, one sent word of another town that doesn't allow loose dumping of leaves on the street, even in the fall. Her description went like this:
"Summit NJ policy has been in effect for a long time. We lived there until 2003 and either landscapers took the leaves or the homeowner composted or the homeowner took the leaves to the drop off center. Remarkably few bagged their leaves."
Though the simplified proposal I put together with some help from friends recommends keeping the loose leaf pickup for 2-3 months in the fall, plus providing year-round pickup of leaves/yardwaste containerized in roll carts and yardwaste bags, the programs that ban loose dumping altogether are worth learning from.

What would a year-round ban on loose leaf dumping in the streets mean?

Our streets would finally be clean. There'd be no more piles large and small, year-round.

Necessity being the mother of invention, people would be more apt to rake leaves into a back corner of the property.

These 4-man, three-vehicle, street-scraping caravans would perhaps be needed only for special pickups of brush, or clearing after big storms.
There'd be no more noisy leaf-blower operations running amok in the streets.

But there are many drawbacks to yardwaste bags as the only allowed container. They lack stability.

They are not waterproof, and have to be manually lifted into the trucks, so putting wet, soggy leaves in them is not a good idea.

Unlike roll carts, reliance on yardwaste bags offers no potential to expand service later on by also allowing foodwaste to be put in the rollcart with the yardwaste. With foodwaste comprising a third of our trash, any convenient way to remove it from the wastestream will yield big savingsin landfill tipping fees. This approach has been used to good effect in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as western cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Portland.

No comments: