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SHOULD THE TOWN REQUIRE HOME COMPOSTING/SHREDDING OF LEAVES IF IT WOULD SAVE $$
Release Date: November 21, 2010

The Greenburgh Town Board will hold our first public hearing on the 2011 town budget tomorrow evening (Monday). The meeting starts at 7:30 PM.
IF THE TOWN REQUIRED HOME COMPOSTING OF LEAVES/OR SHREDDING OF LEAVES WE COULD HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR. WOULD IT MAKE SENSE FOR THE TOWN TO EMBARK ON AN EDUCATION CAMPAIGN, ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO HOME COMPOST/SHRED LEAVES IN 2011--AND AFTER A YEAR OR TWO OF EDUCATION, TO DISCONTINUE PICKING UP LEAVES FROM PEOPLE'S HOMES?
This could save taxpayers money -and help our environment. What do you think?  PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM MARK GILLILAND.
PAUL FEINER
 
 
 

November 19, 2010

Dear Supervisor Feiner, 

Fall leaves are a valuable natural resource that most homeowners let go to waste by having them blown into piles on the street, or raked into brown bags stacked curb-side, left for Town (DPW)  vacuuming and pickup.  Leaf collection, hauling, and disposal are a huge annual cost estimated to range between $350K to $400K* for Greenburgh alone. (*Includes equipment, labor, fuel and tipping costs.)

In addition, the nutrients in the leaves are lost instead of being returned to nourish the soil, the grass and the plants that grow on a homeowner’s property. Instead, leaves piles blown into the street often clog storm drains and cause excess phosphorus runoff into our nearby rivers.  

The Solution? Love ’Em and Leave ’Em! (LELE)

The best thing a homeowner or property manager can do with leaves is to leave them on your property! You can:

•    Shred them with a lawn mower and leave them in place on your lawn.

•    Compost them in a pile or container (with or without shredding first).

•    Shred them and use them as mulch on your borders and flowerbeds. 

The Benefits?

Save money: Help keep taxes down due to reduced pickup requirements. Reduce need for commercial fertilizers, and never buy mulch again.

Save effort: Most homeowners (and landscapers) find that mulching leaves in place is easier and faster than raking or blowing them to the curb.

Help keep your property healthy: Leaf mulch recycles nutrients into your soil and helps retain moisture, reducing the need for watering in dry spells.

Help the planet: Transporting and disposing of leaves from your curb wastes energy and contributes to pollution.

The Plan?

The Town can encourage this LELE practice through education and outreach while slowly reducing its support of leaf pickup processing.  Steps include:

1)     Set a LELE leaf pick-up reduction goal for the town. (For example, 20% year 1, 40% year 2, 60% year 3, 80% year 4.)

2)     Develop a public educational outreach effort to explain LELE practices & benefits. (Include media outreach.)

3)     Provide workshop training for Landscape Business owners and their staff in the cost savings, techniques and marketing of LELE.

4)     Train town staff (DPW, Parks Department) on LELE program.

5)     Monitor effectiveness of program yearly to determine cost savings and implement matching budget reductions related to this.

The costs of educational outreach might best be shared between the villages and the town as many of the same Landscape Business owners and crews serve both constituents. The Greenburgh Nature Center and it’s inter-municipal Greenburgh Environmental Forum (GEF) would be an effective and reasonable conduit for co-ordination concerning any shared LELE educational initiatives. The GNC could help develop, promote and present educational outreach programs including “how to” demos for homeowners, Landscape Business owners and their work crews.

Mulching-in-place and composting leaves on-site are practices that could potentially save both the homeowner and the town a great deal of money, time and effort – helping to keep one’s property healthier, to protect the environment, and to reduce annual budget expenses (thus helping to keep taxes down, as well). It’s a win-win-win situation for all!

For more detailed information about mulching-in-place and composting of leaves, please visit www.irvingtonny.gov/green.

I (and the rest of the Irvington GPTF leaf sub-committee) look forward to discussing this initiative and how it will help save money in the town’s upcoming budget. 

Regards,

Mark Gilliland

The Irvington Green Policy Task Force

CC:  Greenburgh Town Council

Irvington GPTF




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