`Blitz' in Anne Arundel puts out word on leaves: Bag and label them

October 12, 1999|By Rachel D. Mansour | Rachel D. Mansour,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The colors are beginning to show, heralding the beginning of fall -- falling leaves, that is.

Millions and millions of leaves.

What to do with them all?

The Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works suggests bagging and labeling them for recycling.

County residents won't be getting government help with the manual labor of raking and bagging, but their yard waste will be picked up at curbside. Anne Arundel officials want to make sure that it ends up recycled as compost -- rather than buried.

"It is important our customers know how to recycle their yard waste so we don't take up valuable space in our landfills," said James Pittman, deputy director of the Department of Public Works' Waste Management Services Division.

The county collects about 20,000 tons of curbside yard waste each year. An additional 6,000 tons of leaves, twigs and other debris, about two 32-gallon plastic bags per household, ends up at the landfill because the waste is not properly set aside and labeled.

To address the problem, the county has begun a "Yard Waste Blitz" campaign, leading up to America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. The point is to remind Arundel's 130,000 residential, curbside customers to place yard rubbish -- without other trash -- in 32-gallon plastic bags marked with masking tape and an "X."

Bags should be tied without metal or wire ties, and they should weigh no more than 40 pounds.

Pittman urged that people do the job correctly so that the yard waste can be recycled. It will be transported to a Prince George's County facility that composts it into a marketable product.

A private hauler under a county contract collects yard waste year-round, except in February and March, on each neighborhood's designated recycling day.

The county also offers education programs on back-yard composting and products for residents who prefer to recycle their yard waste into fertilizer.

Information: Anne Arundel County Recycling Division, 410-222-7951.

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