The Greensboro City Council plans to discuss what has been called “the third rail” of city government at a work session on Thursday, April 13 beginning at 2 p.m.

The topic is loose leaf collection and in the past when the City Council has considered ending loose leaf collection, councilmembers have said that they have received more phone calls, emails, text messages and even old fashioned letters from constituents than they have received about any other issue.

But the presentation at this work session will be different from past presentations, which have demonstrated that for the city to end loose leaf collection and only collect bagged leaves would be a more expensive option.  One of the major factors in the past has been equipment.  The city currently has the equipment for loose leaf collection and moving to a different system would require buying new equipment.

The current analysis is that the city would reduce costs by scrapping its current equipment and buying new equipment, which would include a new 96 gallon yard waste container for each residence.  People would also be given the option of purchasing their own reusable “leaf burrito.”  Plastic bags would be outlawed and only compostable/biodegradable paper bags would be allowed for leaves and other yard waste.  Residents would be limited to 10 bags in addition to the 96 gallon container per week with the possible exception that 20 bags would be allowed from November to January.

The reusable “leaf burrito” is currently used by Charlotte and has the added advantage according to the proposal of “no cost to the city.”

The options to be considered by the City Council are:

“A. Eliminate loose leaf vacuum collection program

:B. Change code to prohibit plastic bags

“C. Accept leaf burrito (code change)

“D. 96-gallon containers for YW [yard waste]

“E. Implement all options”

According to the report the current method of loose leaf collection will cost the city $32.1 million over the next 15 years while the proposed system will cost $28.4 million over the same time period.