In August, Greensboro city councilmembers bid adieu to loose-leaf collection in an effort to “reduce costs.” Now, they’re opening their wallets and shelling out funding for yard waste carts that will be doled out to homeowners in summer 2024 before the start of next year’s leaf season.
According to city documents, the city is about to enter into a $369,000 contract with Schaefer Plastics North America LLC, which will assemble and deliver 75,000 carts to the city. In a separate agenda item, the “cart material” is set to cost nearly $3.75 million.
Councilmembers will vote on Jan. 2 whether or not to approve the contract and funding for the carts.
A statement from the city claimed that canceling loose-leaf collection would save the city more than $10 million over the next 15 years. Beginning March 1 of next year, residents must use only biodegradable paper bags for yard waste. No plastic bags will be accepted. Council voted 7-2 this year to pass this new collection method, with Councilmembers Zack Matheny and Hugh Holston voting in opposition.
When leaf collection ends in February, it will be the last time the city uses their vacuum trucks to collect leaves roadside. These trucks will be repurposed “for other uses,” Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said in August.
Instead, the city will provide 95-gallon, gray rolling yard waste carts that will be collected weekly on residents’ regular collection day.
During leaf season in the fall, in addition to the yard waste cart, the city will take away up to 15 biodegradable paper bags per household. For the rest of the year, they’ll pick up 10 bags including the contents of yard waste carts. Homeowners will have to purchase these biodegradable bags themselves. They’re available online, at big-box stores and local lawn-and-garden centers, the city’s website states.
The city won’t accept customer-owned yard waste containers, in order to “streamline the yard waste collection process and help limit injuries to customers and crews who would have to lift these containers by hand,” according to their website.
Abuzuaiter noted that the city has “spent millions of taxpayer dollars on workers comp claims by employees,” adding that workers have been hurt by heavy yard waste containers over the years.
If residents want a second yard waste cart, they will be available for purchase at a later time.
City documents state that proposed bonds are the planned funding source for the cart material.
If the council approves these financing documents, this will permit the submission of an application to the state’s Local Government Commission for final approval of the proposed debt next summer.
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