Earth Friendly: Where does the brush go?
As I leave the house, I am reminded by the crackling sound of dead leaves blanketing my yard, that I can't remember the last time I took care of the lawn, as I notice the neighbors working hard to gather branches and rake the crunchy leaves into a pile.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend about many services the city offers, such as yard waste collection. We already pay for this service, so why not make good use of it?
What is a city resident to do with branches and leaves blanketing their lawn like snow? First, package gathered yard waste in either a large brown paper refuse bag made specifically for yard waste (which you can get from most stores that have a lawn and garden section) or an old trash container. And when we say trash container, we mean any type of trash container other than your large 96-gallon green recycle cart or gray garbage cart issued by the city.
Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings and small branches that fit into the paper refuse bag or trash container. Please note, we won't accept yard waste in anything other than the refuse bags or old trash containers or weighing more than 50 pounds per bag or container. We want to keep the drivers safe. Setting yard waste out in cardboard boxes or bundles, up to three tied with rope or twine, less than 4 feet and 50 pounds is also acceptable.
Second, do not panic when you see the automated garbage driver leave behind what you painstakingly gathered to set out. A yard waste truck follows the automated garbage driver's same route.
Next, what to do with those darn branches that fell from trees after the last cold snap. Easy. There are brush trucks for that. The city is divided into four areas. Each area gets visited four times a year for three weeks per cycle. If you are "in-cycle," meaning the trucks are scheduled to be in your area, you can call and schedule up to six cubic yards of brush (4x4x10 about the dimensions of a large picnic table) for collection. This collection is free and included as part of your monthly utility bill.
For those in need of additional limb collection, extra charges apply if your area is "out of cycle" or there is more than six cubic yards placed out for collection. Simply call the Solid Waste office at 361-485-3220, and the staff will let you know what area you're in and what charges apply.
Best of all, the branches and yard waste collected through these services go to the compost site, GardenVille, 361-897-1500. Now, I stand after work with a warm cup of cocoa dreaming of how beautiful my lawn will look with a few bags of Coastal Grow compost in the spring.
Kate Garcia is the interim programs coordinator for the City of Victoria, Environmental Services.