In an effort to maintain cleaner neighborhoods this fall, the City of Arlington is set to launch a pilot program that aims to supplement city-wide leaf collection, replacing the use of homeowners' leaf drop-off sites.
For this year, the City has decided not to designate leaf drop-off locations, which have primarily been situated at city parks and have seen a significant increase in usage over recent years. In 2022, these drop-off sites collected more than 628 tons of bagged leaves, marking a substantial 47% increase from the previous year. However, Republic Services and City staff have struggled to maintain these sites, leading to concerns from residents about overflowing dumpsters and stacks of bagged leaves left in park parking lots.
According to the current collection rules, Republic Services collects up to six 30-gallon bags of leaves per collection day. The new pilot program for 2023 will involve the introduction of additional collection routes, allowing Republic Services to pick up more bags of leaves as they are available. The ultimate goal is to reduce the time it takes to collect leaves city-wide. The decision on when to start and end the extra collection routes will depend on various factors, including the timing of the first significant drop in foliage, weather conditions, and holiday collections.
It's important to note that bagged leaves picked up at the curb will not be recycled. Residents are still encouraged to either mow their leaves, which can help fertilize their lawns, or mulch them for compost. For those who prefer recycling, residents and landscape contractors can continue to bring bagged leaves to the Arlington Landfill, located at 800 Mosier Valley Road, at no cost. If the leaves are in plastic bags, they must be opened, and the leaves placed in a pile. Paper landscaping bags can be dropped off without any further steps required.
As in the previous year, Republic Services will once again suspend the collection of bagged leaves, brush, and bulk items during the days immediately following Thanksgiving and Christmas. This brief pause in service, for example, on Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday following Thanksgiving, will allow the collection crews to prioritize the pickup of all trash on the scheduled service day, minimizing the risk of route delays.
This innovative approach to leaf collection aims to streamline the process, reduce the burden on designated drop-off sites, and ensure a cleaner and more efficient leaf collection experience for Arlington residents this fall.