Sunday, 21 October 2012

Leaves. Damned leaves.

There is this giant maple tree behind my yard that always loses it's leaves after all the others. It's quite annoying. Some years it drops all it's leaves after it snows so I never do get a chance to rake them up, and I end up with a big mess in the spring including henna-like imprints of maple leaves on the patio for months afterwards.

That big maple is only a fraction of my lawn care woes. There is also a smaller maple, three ornamental maples, an apple tree and a birch tree, all either in my yard or directly adjacent to it.

There are plenty of leaves to rake up, but few bags to put them in. This is because we can't use plastic bags anymore with Winnipeg's new yard waste program, the Leaf It With Us depots are closed, and stores are largely sold out of the paper leaf bags because retailers were caught off guard by the new system. The city kindly provided free bags to home owners, but only two. That big maple -- my share of it -- would probably fill three times that many on its own. People around the city were left with piles of leaves and nowhere to put them. Some cleverly blew them onto the road with leaf blowers. There. Problem solved.

Fortunately for me I installed a new compost bin. Compost bins are awesome. You can pack the equivalent of THIS MANY bags into a composter. Throw all those leaves in, pack 'em down, throw more in, and more, and pack it down and throw more in. Just when you think you can't put more in, grab a shovel or snow pick and jab those suckers down and suddenly you can pack in another three bag's worth of leaves. The end result for me is that I was able to get by with only my two free paper leaf bags this fall, and I still have room in my bin for whatever leaves that big maple still has to drop.

It wasn't until I was live on the air last Wednesday on Winnipeg Internet Pundits that I came up with this belated idea: why didn't the city have a sale of compost bins prior to the fall? Every spring the city has a sale on compost bins and water barrels, but its only for one day and only in a handful of locations around the city. Accordingly it's a painful experience with excruciating line-ups. I've never understood these one day events. If you want people to have these things, why don't you make them available all the time so that people don't have to rearrange their schedules and waste hours of their time?

The folks at city hall knew well in advance that this new yard waste program was coming and that the old leaf depots were closing. Why not encourage people to buy compost bins? They could have provided subsidies for retailers or a rebate of some kind, or they could have set up special bin sales like the do in the spring, but for 4 or 5 weekends in a row. They don't have to be fancy-ass bins either. They could be something simple like this one.

It's too late now of course, but what do you want from me? Proactive solutions? Pfft. Much funner to criticize after the fact.

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Anonymous said...

Of course you can still use plastic bags for the leaves...just put them in the garbage bin one at a time as space permits over the winter.

In fact if you bag them now by spring they'll compact on their own saving room to allow you to put recycling in the garbage bin too.

Wait until the city says plastic bags are okay for yard waste BUT you have to purchase a tag for the bag in order to get it picked up - it's coming trust me!

cherenkov said...

Yes that's true, you can still bag them up and have them taken away as garbage like before, but just in smaller amounts.

Anonymous said...

You have a very nice yard.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

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