Dear PoP – What’s The Best Way To Dispose of Leaves?

DSCN3718, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“As the guru of DC living, I thought you might know: is there anything
useful I can do with a couple of bags of raked leaves other than put
them out with the trash?”

Of course I was a bit too slow and the reader was able to answer the question themselves:

“The answer is, bag them, place them next to your trash can on your trash pick up day (or second trash pick up day if you get two a week). I did that this morning and now they’re gone. Perhaps gone into the same dumpster as everything else, but I tried!

Here’s the language from the DPW website
DPW collects up to five bags (per week) of yard waste from residences
that receive DPW trash and recycling collection services. Yard waste
consists of bagged leaves, grass clippings, weeds, bulbs, twigs, pine
cones, and uprooted plants, as well as bundles of branches and limbs
tied into four-foot lengths.

Household trash, renovation materials, rocks, bricks and dirt are not
considered yard waste. Place bagged leaves and grass clippings where your trash is collected and tie branches and limbs into four-foot
lengths. Residents with once-a-week trash/recycling collections should place their bagged or bundled yard waste next to their trash and recycling containers on their collection day. Residents with twice-a-week trash/recycling collections should place their bagged and/or bundled yard waste next to their trash and recycling containers
on their second collection day. Up to five bags or bundles will be collected, depending upon the trash truck’s capacity to accept these materials.”

I thought there were also those big trucks that went around in November basically with a big vacuum sucking up all the leaves that you place on the curb. Is this a hallucination or do these trucks really exist? When do they come around?

6 Comment

  • saf

    They have not yet announced when the leaf-sucking truck will be coming around this year. will have that information once it’s announced. It’s weather dependent.

  • Wait for the truck!! If you dispose of your leaves in the regular pickup, you’ll just be putting good, organic matter into a landfill. Instead, if it’s picked up by the truck, it’s composted … at least I think it is. Besides, you don’t have to bag it if you wait for the sucky-truck (which is what I think everyone should call it) — just rake it to the curb and they do all the work for you!

  • You could alternatively take this opportunity to start composting. Takes only a small backyard space, a little time and effort, and will not only reduce your waste load, but also generate some pretty good fertilizing mulch/compost for your garden. You can get composting bins cheaply online or at garden stores, or make your own as I did with wire mesh and some 3′ stakes.

  • @hb – to be absolutely honest unless you have some specific use for the composted leaves (which I highly encourage btw) your average lawn scrap probably wont make it into any proper channel of municipal landscaping and could be headed for the dump anyway or to an incinerator. There is a plethora of composting materials around this time of year so fear not if your leaves go to the dump, they will have a happy and enlightened afterlife as organic detritus speeding up the biodegrading & aerobic digestion process of other materials which in turn produces clean burning methane that can be harnessed by any modern land fill as a source of renewable energy. Happy Landscaping y’all.

  • If you want to make a more varmint-proof composter, use an old metal trash can and drill holes in the sides, top & bottom. If you’re using leaves, be sure to combine w. wet food scraps so they break down. You could just pile the leaves up next to your bin and put them in as needed. I wonder if you could start breaking them down yourself by using a push mower, or if it would just roll right over them. Might be worth trying.

  • Anon – I have tried the mower approach. It tends to send the small leaf bits to the 4 winds, and once chopped into small pieces, they are hard to rake and collect. The compost pile will break them down in short order. Also, I have an open-top compost heap, and have never had varmint issues there (that I am aware of). I think the stray cats, and our dogs, suffice to keep all but the squirrels away from our yard.

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