Elgin leaf pickup: A tale of 2 cities
By Mike Danahey email@example.com @DanaheyECN on Twitter October 1, 2013 8:40PM
A pile of leaves dwarfs an intersection in Elgin in 2009. Close-in neighborhoods willcontinue to have rake-into-street leaf collection, while outer neighborhoods will continue to have leaf-in-bag pickup. | File~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 3, 2013 6:22AM
ELGIN — As the calendar turned from September to October Tuesday, leaf collection season began in Elgin.
And here, leaf collection is a tale of two cities.
In Elgin’s older neighborhoods — with their big trees — on both sides of the Fox River, the city’s on-street program has residents rake leaves into the streets. Those collections begin on Oct. 14 and continue through Nov. 30. Weather permitting, included northwest neighborhood rake-out collections happen on Mondays, southwest on Tuesdays, northeast on Wednesdays, and southeast on Thursdays.
In such neighborhoods, homeowners are charged $2 per month on their water bills to help cover the cost of the program.
On collection days in those respective neighborhoods, leaves should be put out into the street along the curb by 6 a.m. Trash, branches or other yard waste should not be mixed into the leaf piles.
Residents with cars in these areas are encouraged not to park on the street on scheduled leaf collection days because leaf piles blocked by cars will not be collected. And residents should discourage children from playing in leaf piles in the street for obvious safety reasons.
Residents in these neighborhoods have the option of putting leaves in paper yard-waste bags for free weekly collection by Waste Management on normal weekly pickup days from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30. Refuse stickers are not required on yard-waste bags during these weeks.
For the rest of the city — in its newer neighborhoods farther east and west — leaf collection runs from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 on regular garbage day at no extra charge in these areas.
Leaves must be placed in paper yard-waste bags for collection and are collected weekly on regular garbage pickup days by Waste Management. Purple refuse stickers are not required on yard-waste bags during this designated leaf bag collection period.
In these neighborhoods, residents are not to put their leaves into the street.
Leaves should not be bagged with garbage or other material. Leaves put on the curb in plastic bags will not be collected.
According to a press release issued by the city, bagging leaves lessens the potential for flooding from excess leaves left in the street that clog sewer drains. Bagging also eliminates the hazard of children playing in leaf piles on the street, and reduces the threat of parked cars setting leaf piles on fire.
The release also asks all residents to consider mulching fallen leaves into their lawns with or composting the leaves.
“These are great ways to provide your lawn and other plants in your yard with valuable nutrients while reducing waste and saving money,” the release states. “Mulching controls weeds, is a natural fertilizer, enables better water infiltration, reduces thatch and improves soil quality.”
Elgin management analyst Dan Ault said that there are about 14,000 stops in the rake-out neighborhoods and about 11,5000 stops in the bagging-only blocks. In 2012, Elgin began charging the $2 monthly fee in the rake-out areas and began having residents pay $13.45 per month for the garbage collection at their homes by Waste Management.