The garden now has a sign by the leaf bags with a simple message: Leaves in Garland Left Curbside Go to Landfill
The current size of the leaf bag collection is 40 feet long, 4 feet high and five feet wide. It now contains 302 bags (9,060 pounds or about 4.5 tons). This morning we picked up and unloaded approximately 2,010 pounds of leaves. The sixty-seven bags picked up today came from Firewheel residential area for a total of approximately one ton of leaves since the bags average 30 pounds each. Consider, if we collect 1000 bags, the size would measure 130 feet long four feet high and five feet wide and weigh about 13 tons. That's a lot of room and a lot of leaves. However, if you consider that a conservative estimate for our city is not at 12 or 13 tons but rather at 12,000 tons of leaves, you will get the picture of all the leaves we are sending to our landfill. This is so wasteful and it costs us money as we are the ones who will have to replace the leaves (future soil) if we want to continue to grow plants in our yard. We will have to buy back the soil we are throwing away.
A lot of people in Garland still mistakenly think the bags of leaves they put curbside are picked up by Garland Environmental Services and mulched. We know because we’ve asked a lot of people. Bags of leaves left curbside in Garland are taken to the Hinton landfill where they are added to the landfill mass. This is not the best choice.
The tree limbs and shrub trimmings left unwrapped on the curb in Garland are picked up and mulched and made available to the citizens. Perhaps this is where the confusion comes in. People just assume because the City picks up the tree branches and mulches them that they do the same with the bags of leaves. They do not.
We love Garland. We also believe that people need to know the truth in order to make the best decisions—for themselves and for their community. In regard to leaves, the most environmentally responsible decision is to recycle the leaves where they fall—either by simply leaving them alone, or by composting them and then using the compost to enrich the soil in the yard by replacing the nutrients and minerals that were used to make the leaves. We are losing soil in our urban areas at an alarming rate.
When you have your leaves hauled off—whether it is to a landfill or to a recycle center such as they have in Plano Texas with their Texas Pure Products—you will still at some point in time need to replace nutrients and soil by purchasing it. You will also broaden your ecological footprint by driving to the recycling center to pick up the soil (thus burning fuel for the trip and adding strain to the infrastructure and pollution to the air.
Compost Christmas Tree May be Coming
Upcoming on the horizon for our continued Leaf Awareness campaign is perhaps the construction of a Christmas Compost Tree. I say “Perhaps” because there are those who say it can’t be done and I’m not sure although being a dreamer I was entirely confident in the successful and easy construction of a Compost Christmas Tree until I shared my plans with a friend who gave me at least 10 reasons why it wouldn't work. I am convinced it can still be done, but perhaps on a reduced scale. Originally I wanted it to be 23 feet tall with a 12-foot square base. Now it looks like I’ll settle for 16 feet tall and a 9-foot square base. We are limited by the fact that we only have an 8 foot ladder. [I do plan to remedy this lack by putting the ladder in the bed of "Ole Blue" and thus adding about four feet to the reach of the ladder.]
I’m hoping to be able to construct it tomorrow, before the bad weather comes. We’ll see.