Arlington, VA

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.

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