Leaf Collection Season Is Here

Leaf pile

While the warm weather and still greenish trees may not show it, it’s leaf collection season again.

The city picks up leaves from street gutters from October 1 through November 15 each year.

It’s a service we’re proud to offer, even as many do not (at least not free of charge).

A few notes for South Milwaukee residents … No yard waste and plants will be collected. They must be taken to the Self-Deposit Station. And please do not push leaves into the gutter after November 15 — they may not be picked up.

You may recall my open letter last year on this subject, as we were faced with significantly higher costs in picking up and disposing of leaves. Well, we’ve solved that problem and have a disposal site more reasonably priced and closer by.

Still, I continue to ask: If possible, consider mulching instead of raking. Or compost them. Or save a few bags of leaves in your garage to use for mulch next spring.

Why do I ask for moderation?

  • First, this service is extremely costly for taxpayers. From the labor costs of picking up the leaves and trucking them to our collection site in Caledonia to what the facility bills us for accepting the leaves to the fuel costs associated with that work, we’ll spend more than $100,000 on leaf collection and disposal this fall, if nothing changes.
  • It is also bad for the environment. While the landfill does compost the leaves we give them, the fuel it takes to make the trip alone makes this bad for our planet. Plus, leaves being left in the street can be washed into area waterways, causing water quality issues. And piles of leaves can, and do, clog sewer drains during rainstorms. Mulching is better.

Of course, I realize mulching is not an option for some homeowners, especially those with a number of trees in their yard that can bury a lawn in leaves each fall.

But for those who can, please consider putting the rake away.

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