Greensboro’s final season of loose-leaf collection begins on Nov. 6 and will run through Feb. 2.
In August, council voted 7-2 to pass the new collection method, with Councilmembers Zack Matheny and Hugh Holston voting against.
In a press release from the city, residents are advised to rake leaves to the edge of their yard behind the curb — not in the street — and are asked to remove sticks, rocks and other debris that could damage city equipment from the piles. The city also requests that residents refrain from parking vehicles on, in front of or near leaf piles.
Two collection periods are scheduled: Leaves that are curbside by Nov. 6 will be picked up by Dec. 22, and leaves that are curbside by Jan. 2 will be collected by Feb. 2. The city does not collect loose leaves on private streets.
The collection schedule may change due to inclement weather, so residents can use the city’s interactive map to see where their neighborhood is on the leaf collection schedule.
The collected leaves will be turned into compost to fertilize city gardens and landscaped areas. Residents may purchase the compost for $20 per truckload at the White Street Landfill at 2503 White St.
What’s the plan for next year?
When leaf collection ends in February, it will be the last time the city uses vacuum trucks to collect leaves roadside. These trucks will be repurposed “for other uses,” Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said during a council meeting on Aug. 15.
The city’s website states that these changes will save $10 million over the course of 15 years.
Beginning March 1, residents must use only biodegradable paper bags for yard waste. No plastic bags will be accepted; residents can purchase biodegradable bags online, at big-box stores and local lawn-and-garden centers, the city’s website states.
The city will collect up to 10 bags per household per week outside of leaf season.
In the summer, the city will provide residents with rolling 95-gallon gray carts for leaves and yard waste. A second cart may be purchased at a later time. The cart will be collected every week throughout the year on residents’ regular collection day.
During next year’s leaf season, the city will accept up to 15 biodegradable paper bags per household per week in addition to leaves and debris in the cart.
Abuzuaiter said that the city has “spent millions of taxpayer dollars on workers comp claims by employees,” adding that they’ve been hurt by heavy yard waste containers over the years.
Shoveling up wet leaves has contributed to employee injuries, Abuzuaiter said, noting that public safety has also been a concern.
“You can ask the police chief, the fire chief and any EMS driver, many times fire trucks and ambulances have not been able to navigate down narrow streets where all of the leaves are in the middle of the road,” she said.
But some residents are worried about the change.
Randolph Ariail spoke out at the council meeting with concerns about the “older people, people with limited mobility, using these cans and bags.”
As for surrounding municipalities, Winston-Salem is starting their annual leaf collection on Oct. 30. Like Greensboro, leaf woes also plagued the Camel City last year with a whirlwind of rainy weather, vehicle breakdowns and leaves falling early. But Winston-Salem is continuing to tackle loose leaves and increased their stock of equipment to do so. According to a press release from the city, this year they will have a total of 24 trucks compared to 17 last year. The city will also have 12 automated trucks in service, bringing the total number of crews to 36
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