It’s breathtaking how fast the City of Greensboro can move when city staff wants to get something done.

On Thursday, Aug. 10, the Greensboro City Council discussed a proposed ordinance to do away with loose leaf collection, and on Tuesday, Aug. 15, the ordinance ending loose leaf collection is on the City Council meeting agenda for a vote.

The City Council has considered ending loose leaf collection for years, but the public outcry whenever the topic was discussed deterred the council from taking action.  Councilmembers have said that they have never received so many letters, emails, texts, calls and contacts about any other city initiative. But the short window between when the topic was discussed and when the vote will take place should greatly reduce the number of contacts from angry constituents the city councilmembers will receive.

Since the new leaf collection program will not go into effect for the 2023-2024 leaf season, which officially starts Nov. 1, there isn’t any real rush on getting the ordinance passed, except the longer the City Council waits to vote the more time opponents have to make their voices heard.

Instead of raking leaves to the street where they are vacuumed up by city crews, the new program calls for each residence to receive a 95 gallon bin, similar to the green garbage and brown recycling bins the city currently provides, except the yard waste bin will be gray.

The gray yard waste container will be collected each week on the same day as garbage is collected. In addition to the yard waste bin, each week residents can place 10 biodegradable paper bags of yard waste including leaves and grass clippings on the street. The biodegradable paper bags currently cost about 50 cents each.  Plastic bags will not be collected by the city.

During leaf season from Nov. 1 to the second week in February, residents will be allowed to place 15 biodegradable paper bags of leaves on the street each week in addition to the 95 gallon yard waste bin.

During the work session discussion, Councilmember Hugh Holston questioned why the city had not run a pilot program with a neighborhood to see if the new plan would work.

Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann asked if a calculation had been done to determine how many bags would be used by a typical resident.

One of the reasons given for ending loose leaf collection was that only 40 percent of the residents of Greensboro used the service.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “Lots of people don’t use the library. I think you can say that about just about every city department across the board.”