Saturday, November 3, 2012

Please dont place leaves in Plastic Bags!

Walking through Lee Heights today, I witnessed multiple yard contractors stuffing leaves into plastic bags and putting them on the curb.

PLEASE dont do that.  Leaves placed in plastic bags are "garbage," will be picked up by our trash trucks, and will be dumped into land fill.  Locked in a plastic bag, the leaves cannot become part of the earth again.

Arlington will pick up the leaves and mulch them.  Please rake your leaves to the curb (your hired contractors can do this).  You can either rake the leaves into big piles, or stuff them into paper bags (the county will provide you with free bags to use).  The leaves do not go into land fill; the leaves rot and compost; and the leaves become healthy nutritious soil again. 

And if your contractor stuff all the leaves in plastic bags, its not too late.  Just rip them open and dump the leaves right there on the curb.  The county will vacuum them up.

This is information from Arlington County about the leaf mulch pickup program:

Leaf Collection Process

Arlington County collects about 50,000 cubic yards of leaves every year. Long before the first leaf falls, staff analyzes historic data, tree types and density, weather forecasts, state forestry forecasts, and resident feedback to develop the leaf collection schedule. This helps better allocate collection resources and serve neighborhoods when fallen leaves are heaviest.

Image: Biodegradable leaf bags.Biodegradable Bag Collection

Oct. 29, 2012 - Jan. 11, 2013 (Monday - Friday including holidays, except Christmas and New Year's Day)
Leaf bags are collected on the next business day after your regular trash collection day. If your trash is collected Friday, your last leaf bag will be collection Monday, January 7.
How to Prepare for Recycling
  • Remove dirt, stones, litter and other debris from leaves
  • Place only leaves in biodegradable paper leaf bags (bags will be made into mulch with leaves)
  • Close bags by folding top down
  • Place bags at the curb, one day after your trash day by 6:30 a.m.
  • Do not use plastic bags!
Paper leaf bags are available at most hardware stores including Home Depot and Lowes. Please use any bags left over from the spring yard waste collection. Free bags are also available beginning Oct. 15, 2012 at the following locations (while supplies last):
Aurora Hills Center, 735 18th St. S. - (703) 228-5715Lubber Run Center, 300 N. Park Dr, (703) 228-4712
Courthouse Plaza Information Desk, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., (703) 228-3000, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.Madison Center, 3829 N. Stafford St., (703) 228-5310
Lee Center, 5722 Lee Hwy., (703) 228-0552Solid Waste Bureau, 4300 29th St. S., (703) 228-6570, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Rd., (703) 228-6535Thomas Jefferson Center, 3501 2nd St. S., (703) 228-5920

Vacuum Collection

Nov. 12 - Dec. 21, 2012 (Monday - Saturday including holidays, except Thanksgiving)
There will be two passes for civic association. Don't know which civic association you are in? View the civic association maps >>
Image: Sample leaf collection neighborhood sign.Schedule Information
  • View the Leaf Collection Schedule >>
  • Sign-up for Arlington Leaf Schedule listserv email updates >>
  • Look for neighborhood signs posted 3-7 days before each pass: First pass in November (bright yellow), second pass in December (orange)
  • Call (703) 228-6565 for recorded schedule by civic association, ex. Barcroft
  • Watch Comcast Cable 74 or Verizon Channel 40
  • Missed a collection? Bag your leaves for the next weekly bag collection or wait for the second vacuum pass.
Image: Leaf vacuum truck.How to Prepare for Vacuuming
  • Rake leaves to curb (residents with contract lawn services should plan to have their leaves raked before scheduled vacuum pickup)
  • Pile leaves away from storm drains and water meter covers, low wires, and parked cars
  • Remove stones, litter, branches or other debris to prevent equipment damage and worker injuries
  • Don't place leaves in plastic bags or County trash carts
  • Never park your car on leaf piles - it's a fire hazard!


Did you know you can compost leaves? Composted leaves make nutrient-rich mulch for flowerbeds and trees come spring. Follow these tips to start composting leaves >>

1 comment:

  1. Someone asked about storm debris (branches, sticks....).

    After Derecho, there was a special run of Arlington trucks to pick up debris. Arlco hasnt announced anything yet. I sent them a message asking. So far this is what the Environmental Services website says

    "For storm debris, please request a brush collection online or call 703-228-6570. Leaf bags should only be used for leaves. The normal requirement for brush to be less than 18-inches in diameter has been waived. Thank you for your patience!"