GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Have you started seeing leaves piling up on the sides of the streets in your neighborhood?
On Monday, loose leaf collection started in Greensboro for the final time. This is the last year that city crews will pick up loose leaves curbside. Next year, a new system will be in place to make it more efficient and safer.
The city says they are fully staffed and fully operational for their final year. Last year, they struggled with staffing, and the city is hopeful they can stay on schedule this year, weather depending.
Going street by street to suck up the leaves is a time consuming and messy job.
“Be patient. We are all human,” said Brian Vernon, the field operations supervisor for the City of Greensboro.
It’s important to remove sticks, rocks and any other yard waste from the leaf piles.
“It is pretty dangerous. You’ve got people out in the street working. You are swinging this heavy hose. Eight, nine,10 hours a day raking leaves. Right now, they are dry, but when they are wet, they are very heavy,” Vernon said.
The city is divided into quads so crews can get up and down every street. The crews expect to be done picking up leaves by Dec. 22.
“Each quad has four to five crews … You have one crew leader, a relay driver, and then people on the ground … Hopefully during the day, you are continuously moving and getting leaves. When one truck fills up, they take it to the landfill, dump it and work on filling the other one up. It’s just a continuous process,” Vernon said.
There are 35 trucks out with 20 leaf machines and 75 people working five to six days a week.
“We try to get in as many Saturdays as we can to fill the void. Obviously, inclement weather … can slow us down considerably, but that is why we ask everybody to be patient,” Vernon said.
In order to have this program, people need to be pulled from their regular jobs around the city.
“There is a lot of jobs that transfer over to pick-up loose-leaf collection, so there is a void in litter collection, street cleaning, asphalt, concrete. All of those responsibilities are put on hold during this time of the year, and I think with the change, the city is going to be cleaner,” said Griffin Hatchell, the solid waste collections manager for the City of Greensboro.
By July, the city will deliver a 95 gallon bin that is similar to the trash and recycling. You can immediately start to fill it with leaves, sticks and other yard waste to put at your curb for weekly pick up.
“People don’t like change, but … change gives us different opportunities to be more successful and be more efficient and safe collecting material,” Hatchell said.
If you need additional space, you can purchase an additional bin or use biodegradable paper bags. The city will also not accept yard waste in plastic bags any more starting in March.
This year, the city has already received complaints about leaf piles in the road or blocking driveways, so remember all the leaves go on your curb.
This is the first collection period that ends Dec. 22. The next one starts Jan. 2, and they plan to have those picked up by Feb. 2. After that, no more loose-leaf collection in the city.