Last week the City of Greensboro Office of Sustainability and Resilience launched its “Leave the Leaves” program.
The plan asks Greensboro residents not to rake their leaves to the curb to be picked up by the city, but to leave them where they fall and let them decay naturally. According to the Office of Sustainability and Resilience, people can mulch the leaves with a lawnmower if they so choose, or they can simply let nature take its course.
The idea went over like a lead balloon.
The entire Rhino Times article about the Leave the Leaves plan, headlined, “City Offers Another Solution to Loose Leaf Collection Controversy,” was posted on Nextdoor.com, and that post received 690 comments – the vast majority negative.
District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny, who represents a number of residents with lots of trees, was also not impressed by the new program, which appears to be in response to the growing opposition to eliminating the loose leaf collection program in the 2024-2025 leaf season. Starting in March 2024, the city will no longer vacuum up leaves raked to the curb. In the 2024-2025 leaf season, leaves will have to be placed in the yard waste container, which the city will provide to each household, or put in biodegradable paper bags. The city will not pick up loose leaves or leaves in plastic bags beginning in March 2024.
Matheny on his Facebook page posted:
“Did you know the city was planning to use the vacuum trucks to clean up the leaves on city property? Did you know the city increased your taxes over $120 million the last two years only to take away this service?
“While mulching may have good intentions, will it work for the majority of taxpayers, no.
“This was a poorly planned idea that is set up to fail. And it will hurt the environment by more leaves being in the storm drains.
“What are your thoughts?”
Matheny received 87 comments from people sharing their thoughts. City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter commented about mulching the leaves in her yard, but the other comments expressed opposition to ending loose leaf collection and many noted the absurdity of leaving a massive amount of leaves on their yards.
Harry Blair commented, “This is a sweet thought, but it’s just not realistic for some neighborhoods. Oak leaves take 3 to 4 years to decompose and when they do, they make the soil so acid that it’s harmful for bees and butterflies.”
Linda Breckenridge Palmer commented, “Idiotic idea. The city will look like a dump. Love how they try to make it sound warm and fuzzy.”