GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The days of raking your leaves to the street or putting them in garbage bags are coming to an end in Greensboro.
Starting March 1, 2024, the city will no longer accept leaves in plastic bags. Then next fall, crews will no longer come around and vacuum up leaves at the curb.
City council members made changes to streamline the collection process at their meeting Tuesday night.
FOX8 crews went to the White Street Landfill and saw firsthand why the plastic bags need to go. There are piles and piles of leaves and debris, some of which have been sitting out there for years. The yard waste gets turned into mulch, and the new pick-up system is going to help speed up that process.
“I know folks don’t like change, and I respect that and understand that, but just give the city a chance,” said Griffin Hatchell, Greensboro’s solid waste collections manager.
It’s a change that hasn’t gone into effect yet and is already getting a lot of attention.
“There’s going to be a lot of folks that I’ve seen via e-mail that are really sad, and we’ve got some this morning that are like, ‘I’m a 65-year-old resident, and it’s going to be very difficult,'” said Greensboro City Councilman Zack Matheny, who represents District 3.
Greensboro leaders are transitioning to a new way of collecting yard waste.
“I think the biggest piece of information out there is that we are stopping loose leaf collection,” City Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter said. “We are not stopping loose leaf collection. Not now. Not next year.”
By the fall of next year, everyone will have a 95-gallon bin to put leaves in. You’ll also be able to use biodegradable paper bags.
“We do think this is the most efficient and cost-effective way to pick up loose leaf going forward, safe for our employees as well as when it comes to frequency of service,” Hatchell said.
Hatchell drove FOX8’s Caroline Bowyer out to the 10-acre area of the White Street Landfill where your yard waste goes.
“They go out there, and they get dumped in a pile, plastic bags, all the material,” he said. “Then they take a loader, and they pick it up, and they drop it on the line where we have temp workers come in and actually break the bags up.”
It’s turned into mulch, and trucks come and haul it off.
Without plastic bags, this process will become more efficient and make for a cleaner product. Same with the collection process. Crews will pick up weekly, so you don’t have to worry about large piles of leaves blocking streets and clogging drains in your neighborhood.
The new program has already been tested in some areas.
“The pilot programs, the people that have been in it have said this is great because we get our leaves picked up weekly and not every eight weeks,” Abuzuaiter said.
City leaders said that ahead of these changes, communication is key. It’s OK to ask questions. They recognize this will be an adjustment but believe this is what’s best for everyone.