If you were planning to drag that big pile of limbs, leaves and other yard waste to the street this weekend, you need to change your plans.
The last yard waste pickup by the City of Greensboro will be Friday, March 27.
Beginning Monday, March 30, the city will be picking up garbage and recycling on the regular schedule, but no yard waste will be collected. And to have bulk items like appliances, mattresses and furniture collected, people need to call 336-373-2489 and make an appointment.
Greensboro Director of Field Operations Dale Wyrick explained there were two main concerns that led to the decision to discontinue yard waste pickup, both caused by COVID-19. With so many more people at home all day, they are creating a lot more household garbage and, also, there is concern about the health of city employees.
Instead of eating in restaurants, people are eating a lot more takeout. Also, people working at home instead of at the office, while students who were at school all day or away at college are now home all day, and all of that has created a lot more household garbage than usual.
Wyrick said, “We have to make sure, at the minimum, we have the capacity to pick up everybody’s garbage and recycling.”
He added, “Because of the coronavirus, we are trying to have one person per truck.”
Wyrick said picking up yard waste requires having two people in a truck together all day, and under the present conditions he wanted to avoid that whenever possible.
He said that because people are at home and creating more household garbage, they were seeing more overflow, where people can’t fit all their garbage into their garbage container and are bagging the overflow and placing it beside the container.
The garbage container itself is picked up by a side-loading truck and each truck can handle as many as 1,200 containers in a day, if the driver doesn’t have to get out and deal with overflow garbage.
Wyrick said that for the operators to get out of the truck and hand load the overflow bags would keep them from being able to finish their routes.
He said, “I don’t want them getting out of the truck.”
Instead, a follow-up truck will come to pick up the overflow garbage.
He said, “Our goal is to get all their garbage collected on their collection day.”
Wyrick said that residents could help by putting all their garbage in the container if at all possible.
He said that some of the employees that had been assigned to yard waste collection would now be collecting the overflow garbage.
Also, as a result of the changes in society because of COVID-19, Wyrick said there was less commercial garbage, so he also had the equipment used to empty dumpsters sitting idle and the employees that normally operated that equipment would also be used to handle the household garbage and recycling.
He said, “We’re learning this as we go along.”
Greensboro is not alone in ending yard waste pickup; Raleigh and Charlotte are both following the same course.
Wyrick said, “I hate to do this because this is a heavy yard waste season, but public safety and the safety of our employees has to come first.”
From a sustainability standpoint, yard waste can be composted on site and used in gardens and on lawns.
The city will continue to accept yard waste brought to the White Street Landfill at 2503 White St. The cost is $10 per car and $12 per pickup truck or trailer. Large trucks and trailers are charged by the ton. The White Street Landfill is open Monday through Friday from 7:50 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.