Jump to content

Houston's new biodegradable yard waste bags


musicman

Recommended Posts

About time. It never made any sense at all to pick up lawn trimmings in plastic bags. It was defeating the purpose of separating lawn trimmings from regular garbage. An even better solution would be a lawn trimming bin similar to the garbage bin, eliminating bags altogether.

That reminds me...whatever happened to the single-stream recycling proposal? Has that been shelved? Any of the mayoral candidates talking about it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

About time.  It never made any sense at all to pick up lawn trimmings in plastic bags.  It was defeating the purpose of separating lawn trimmings from regular garbage.  An even better solution would be a lawn trimming bin similar to the garbage bin, eliminating bags altogether.

I think that's called a compost bin.  :)

Never understood why anyone bagged their lawn trimmings. By mulching you are adding nutrients back into the lawn and reducing the need for fertilizers. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that's called a compost bin.  :)

Never understood why anyone bagged their lawn trimmings. By mulching you are adding nutrients back into the lawn and reducing the need for fertilizers. 

Actually, I do mulch my grass. It is only the hedge clippings and the grass that ends up on the sidewalk that I put in a bag, but the point is the same. And you are right. Grass should be mulched.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

reminder that the City ordinance about biodegradable bags starts Jan 1

Chronicle Article today

City press release

I would be in favor of a "no bags" system as mentioned. Designate a can/bin for yard waste collection that doesn't need bags. Leaves/clippings go in can, can is emptied into truck. We have a compost bin in the backyard but it's more than overwhelmed with the amount of leaves from the oak trees right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

reminder that the City ordinance about biodegradable bags starts Jan 1

Chronicle Article today

City press release

I would be in favor of a "no bags" system as mentioned. Designate a can/bin for yard waste collection that doesn't need bags. Leaves/clippings go in can, can is emptied into truck. We have a compost bin in the backyard but it's more than overwhelmed with the amount of leaves from the oak trees right now.

February 1 now, which is great because I have just enough regular bags left for the remaining leaves on the trees :). And OMG, the Chron.com comments section is classic. There sure are a lot of people in a bad mood in this city ;).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The city council told us in September that "In an effort to save taxpayers substantial money and keep biodegradable yard waste from needlessly filling up costly landfills, the City of Houston will soon begin requiring the use of biodegradable bags for such waste" --note that if the new bags aren't used and you get caught a $2000. fine could result--but I also read that " bags, are more expensive. A box of 10 city-required bags, each holding up to 39 gallons, costs $6 to $8, while a box of 70 similar-size plastic bags sells for about $16." so I'm wondering if people will just place yard clipping's directly into the big black trash can. . . . . . . . . then what?

here'e the background info from the chronicle--

The City Council on September 2, 2009, approved an ordinance amending Chapter 39, Article IV, of the Houston Code of Ordinances, Collection Services. This change requires residents to use “bio bags” for City collection of green organic material beginning 90 days from passage of the ordinance.

Houston waste officials have decided to delay the start of a program requiring the use of biodegradable and compostable bags for leaves and yard trimmings because of a supply problem.

Effective Jan. 1, the city will only pick up leaves, grass trimmings and other yard waste that is left out in biodegradable or compostable bags. Some details:

The city is making the change in hopes of cutting waste, conserving landfill space and saving money, said Edward Zilton Jr., a senior staff analyst for the city's Department of Solid Waste Management.

Under the ordinance, the city will not collect yard waste in plastic bags, and will fine residents up to $2,000 for putting leaves and clippings in garbage bins.

Plastic bags, made from petroleum, are sturdy and easy to use, but are widely considered an environmental nuisance that can linger for centuries in landfills.

The newly mandated bags begin to decompose within six weeks and leave no harmful residue behind.

The program will go into effect Feb. 1, instead of Jan. 1, to allow more time for the bags to reach store shelves, said Marina Joseph, a spokeswoman for the city's Solid Waste Department.

The newly mandated bags can be found at Walmart and Kroger stores and will soon be at other retailers, such as CVS, Ace Hardware and Do It Best Hardware, she said.

“They are out there, but it's not as widespread as we would like it to be,” Joseph said Monday of the bags. “We don't want to start the program without them being widely available.”

The city is making the change to the biodegradable bags because plastic bags, made from petroleum, can linger for centuries in landfills. The compostable bags begin to decompose within six weeks.

City officials predict that the change will result in the diversion of 60,000 tons of organic material from local landfills at an annual savings of $2 million in fees, or 10 percent of the city's yearly budget for waste disposal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The city council told us in September that "In an effort to save taxpayers substantial money and keep biodegradable yard waste from needlessly filling up costly landfills, the City of Houston will soon begin requiring the use of biodegradable bags for such waste" --note that if the new bags aren't used and you get caught a $2000. fine could result--but I also read that " bags, are more expensive. A box of 10 city-required bags, each holding up to 39 gallons, costs $6 to $8, while a box of 70 similar-size plastic bags sells for about $16." so I'm wondering if people will just place yard clipping's directly into the big black trash can. . . . . . . . . then what?

The way I read it, if you don't use the new bags, they simply won't pick them up. The up to $2000 fine only applies if you get caught putting leaves/clippings into the black trash bins - the trash from those bins is presumably handled differently than leaves/clippings.

The Chron article also mentioned something I wasn't aware of, that yard service crews are required to haul away leaves/clippings. Apparently only residents that do their own yardwork are allowed to bag up the detritus in the new bags and leave them out for curbside pickup. It sounds like this has been the law for a while, but they're getting serious about enforcing it now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The new biodegradable bags last 6 weeks, but the City only picks up organic heavy trash every two months, so you gotta be careful on your timing (if you bag clippings).

Anyone know if we can still throw piles of tree limbs out without bagging them? In the past, heavy trash crews have always picked these up without bagging or bundling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If my trash all fits in my can every week, why the hell do they think they can fine me if there are some leaves in there? We don't make a lot of trash, so the small amount of leaves we get fits and goes in the can. Whatever. Fine the people who blow it in the street, leave me the hell alone since I'm the only one on the block who sweeps up the clippings that get in the street and gutter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look like I'll be getting some exercise this month. I have a box of those big black contractor bags that will be illegal soon, and a corner lot full of leaves and sweetgum balls. Of course, my neighbor had his yard crew out yesterday, same as every week, blowing all his leaves into the storm drains. I must be a complete chump to rake my own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The new biodegradable bags last 6 weeks, but the City only picks up organic heavy trash every two months, so you gotta be careful on your timing (if you bag clippings).

Anyone know if we can still throw piles of tree limbs out without bagging them? In the past, heavy trash crews have always picked these up without bagging or bundling.

Why would you wait to put bagged clippings out with heavy trash? I haven't seen anything to indicate that bagged clippings won't be picked up every week curbside, just like they are now. You just can't put them in the trash bin anymore.

Likewise, there shouldn't be any change in the way tree limbs are picked up (with organic heavy trash). I'd like to see someone try to bag tree limbs - there'll be hell to pay if that's ever required.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be willing to take some grass clippings from around my area (12th and Yale) for those people who don't want to pay for the recyclable bags.

You would think that with Houston charging that much for bags and the high fine, neighborhoods would come up with a plan to use all that compost and put it to good use by selling it to boost the community programs/budget. If there is anyone in the Heights, I'm willing to lend a hand to help put a program in place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

another delay:

"Houston waste officials have decided to delay again the start of a program requiring the use of compostable bags for city pick up of leaves and yard trimmings because of a supply problem. The new start date is April 5, which is after the last major fall of leaves for the season, said Harry Hayes, the city's solid waste director."

Chron article from today

can they just set a date and be done with it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

This law only applies to City of Houston trash pick-up. My neighborhood uses a private hauler so we don't have to spend $1 a bag. It does not make much sense to pass this law without making it apply to everyone. But, I am glad since I can easily fill 12-15 bags a week with leaves during the leaf fall from Oct - Dec. That is about 100 bags. If I composted them it would fill up my yard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This law only applies to City of Houston trash pick-up. My neighborhood uses a private hauler so we don't have to spend $1 a bag. It does not make much sense to pass this law without making it apply to everyone. But, I am glad since I can easily fill 12-15 bags a week with leaves during the leaf fall from Oct - Dec. That is about 100 bags. If I composted them it would fill up my yard.

Buy a mulching lawnmower and just mow over the fallen leaves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buy a mulching lawnmower and just mow over the fallen leaves.

Yeah, I do that some. I think that I will do that with everything. Or else cut down all the damn trees or just let the woods grow back. I would rather let the woods grow back since it kind of chaps my ass when folks buy homes in the woods and expect the yards to be kept like a golf course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I do that some. I think that I will do that with everything. Or else cut down all the damn trees or just let the woods grow back. I would rather let the woods grow back since it kind of chaps my ass when folks buy homes in the woods and expect the yards to be kept like a golf course.

We have too many leaves to just mulch them and let them stay on the lawn. So I used my mulching mower this year to pick up the leaves...much easier than raking like I did in the past. Just blew them from the beds to the lawn and ran them over with the mulching mower, grinding them into small bits. Then I ran them over again with the mower, but with the bag attachment. I was able to compress the leaves, cutting down my lawn bag usage in half (and not having to spend hours raking). Better on my back as well! Not as quaint or green as picking them up with a rake, but it works for me. The only downside is that the mulched leaves that remain in the lawn are easily picked up by my dog, and are impossible to remove from her long coat. Small price to pay, though, for quick and efficient collection.

Edited by travelguy_73
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...