For decades, discussion of ending the loose leaf collection service was considered the third rail by Greensboro city councilmembers.

In the past, councilmembers said that they received more calls, emails and letters opposed to ending loose leaf collection than any other topic that had ever come before City Council.

Now it appears that loose leaf collection will soon be a thing of the past.

At the Thursday, Aug. 10 work session, the Greensboro Field Operations Department presented the plan it recommends for collecting leaves and other yard waste going forward.

One of the reasons given for ending loose leaf collection is that “It is difficult to attract and retain temporary workers.” Another is that long cold and wet winter weather slows the loose leaf collection process, forcing the city to extend the timeline for the program and forcing residents to wait longer to have their leaves collected.

The presentation also noted that only 40 percent of the residents use the loose leaf collection program.

What Field Operations recommends is that each resident be provided with one 95-gallon yard waste bin, similar to the garbage and recycling bins that the city currently provides to residents.

Plastic yard waste bags would be banned and only yard waste in biodegradable paper bags would be picked up by the city.  Residents would be limited to 10 biodegradable paper bags plus their yard waste bin per collection.  Field operations recommends that during “leaf season,” the limit for residences be raised to 15 bags.

The report notes that Charlotte and Durham do not have loose leaf collection programs. Charlotte has outlawed plastic bags for yard waste collection and residents must use paper bags or reusable bins.

Durham uses residential carts and yard waste bags and offers a subscription based yard waste service.

Raleigh does offer a loose leaf collection program, but has also provided 95-gallon yard waste bins. Residents may also use paper yard waste bags with a limit of 15 bags per collection. Raleigh has outlawed plastic yard waste bags.