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Arlington Leaf Collection to Begin Oct. 31

by ARLnow.com October 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm 3,758 12 Comments

Arlington County is preparing for its annual autumn leaf collection, a surprisingly Herculean effort that requires nearly 100 workers, 30 leaf-collecting vehicles and pieces of equipment, and months of planning.

Leaf collection will get underway on Oct. 31. By the time leaf collection season is over, the county estimates it will have collected 45,000 cubic yards of leaves — enough to cover the basketball court at Verizon Center with an 18-story leaf pile. Leaves collected by the county will be ground into mulch and made available to residents. (Dry leaf mulch can protect plants in the winter.)

The county will start collecting leaf bags on Monday, Oct. 31 and won’t stop until Jan. 13. The curbside collection will take place on the next business day after an area’s normal trash collection day. The county will only accept leaves in biodegradable bags, however.

Biodegradable bags are currently being distributed, free of charge, at the Lubber Run Center (300 N. Park Drive), Madison Center (3829 N. Stafford Street), Lee Center (5722 Lee Highway), Thomas Jefferson Center (3501 2nd Street S.), Aurora Hills Center (735 18th Street S.), Long Branch Nature Center (625 S. Carlin Springs Road), the Solid Waste Bureau (4300 29th Street S.) and the Courthouse Plaza Info Desk (2100 Clarendon Blvd).

On Nov. 14, Arlington will begin its vacuum leaf collection. Vacuum trucks will collect leaves left on the side of county streets based on a yet-to-be-announced schedule. Crews will make two passes through each county neighborhood in November and December.

  • John Fontain

    “Leaves collected by the county will be ground into mulch and made available to residents.”

    In a town with ‘green’ desires as strong as Arlington’s, I find it wholly ironic to see people remove leaves from their landscaping, ship them off to another site in the County, PAY to have them brought right back, and then spread them around their landscaping again.

    • Clarendon

      Where I grew up, people just burned the leaves. Fall for me is associated with that burning leaf smell. My dad would burn in a big drum, adding the leaves a little at a time while our neighbors just have a big pile in the yard.

      I think the mulch the county has is a masticated mix of leaves and small branches and so is ready for mulching. I think it’s a good program.

      • I’m not 100% sure but it is probably illegal to burn leaves in Arlington. I believe it is legal in Fairfax and some of the more suburban counties.

        • John Fontain

          It most likely isn’t legal, but as long as you’ve got some hamburgers nearby, you’re just having a cookout right?

          • Steamboat Willie

            If you want your burgers to taste like mulch and moss, knock yourself out.

          • Achoo

            And this is horrible for people with allergies.

      • bluemont guy

        Burning them is indeed illegal, as it causes lots of pollution.

        Wish leaf-blowers were illegal too. Maybe some day.

        It is hilarious, John, how that works. I just leave (so to speak) alot of my leaves on the ground in garden beds as nature’s mulch, which also means less lawn maintenance too.

    • I do put leaves out, but leave some behind in a pile I turn regularly. By spring, they have decomposed pretty good. I also have a setup for better compost similar to one of these:

  • APSnumberone

    I grew up in Arlington, and remember my Dad burning our leaves every fall. But it is definitely against the law now; the leaf collection program is a good one. My only concern is the folks who park on top of leaf piles that people have raked into the street. Not a good idea, as it can start fires.

  • nota gain

    I put out two bags of leaves and branches today and they were put into the gutter by the trash men who pickup the black cans. There was one bag in my black can which was dumped into the truck. I assume that had I put all of the bags in the black can, they too would have been dumped. The blue can workers would not take the bags either.
    I have been using the disposable bags all through the summer and until today they were picked up by the workers of the black trash cans.
    There was a notice on the black can today that leaf pick-up will begin 10/31. I wonder what they did with the bags picked up during the summer.
    Also, the trash trucks totally block roads to all traffic as they pick up the black and blue cans.

    • John Fontain

      Bagged leaves are collected the day after your trash pick up day.

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