The 2023-2024 leaf season is the last that the City of Greensboro will pick up loose leaves.

According to city officials, the city is going to save $10 million over the next 15 years by ending loose leaf collection and requiring residents to put leaves in biodegradable paper bags or in the 95 gallon gray yard waste container that the city will provide to each residence.

However, to save that $10 million, the city has to spend some money, and at the Tuesday, Jan. 2 meeting, the assembly and delivery of 75,000 yard waste bins at a cost of $369,000 is on the Consent Agenda for City Council approval.

The Consent Agenda is a list of “routine and noncontroversial items” that according to City Council policy cannot be discussed and are all approved with one vote.

The ending of the loose leaf collection program has been highly controversial, with petitions still being circulated among residents demanding that the loose leaf collection program not be eliminated.

However, according to the City Council, spending $369,000 to end the program is a routine and noncontroversial item.

According to city staff, the city will also have to purchase five additional yard waste collection trucks – which typically cost several hundred thousand dollars apiece – in order to launch the new yard waste collection program. The staff presentation on ending the loose leaf collection program also noted that the city currently owns 33 pieces of equipment related to loose leaf collection that the city will no longer need.

The new yard waste collection program begins on March 1 after the current leaf season ends in February, and beginning on March 1 the city will no longer collect yard waste in the clear plastic bags that are now required.

So, on Feb. 29, the city will only collect yard waste in clear plastic bags, and beginning on March 1, the city will not collect yard waste in clear plastic bags but only collect yard waste in biodegradable paper bags. Up to 10 biodegradable paper bags of yard waste will be collected weekly from each residence, except during leaf season when 15 biodegradable paper bags plus the 95 gallon yard waste bin that the city will provide will be collected.

During the presentation on all of the benefits of this new yard waste collection program, city staff maintained that after leaves were placed in the biodegradable paper bag they became lighter.

However, it is not true that city staffed claimed that the new program would result in Greensboro being a city “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”