Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, joined by District of Columbia Director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) William O. Howland, Jr., kicked off the District’s annual fall leaf collection process. DPW collects between 8,000 and 10,000 tons of leaves between November and January each year.
“The District’s leaf collection program benefits the city’s infrastructure and residents’ safety,” said Mayor Fenty. “Additionally, when leaves are vacuumed, they can be composted then used in your garden instead of going into a landfill.”
Every fall, DPW collects leaves from residential neighborhoods to reduce potential accidents and injuries resulting from slipping on wet leaves. Leaf collection also prevents storm drains from clogging and causing street flooding during heavy rains. Most of the leaves collected by vacuum trailers are composted and recycled. Residents may call 311, the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center, between March and October to request compost. Composted leaves are available between March and October. Leaves also may be dropped off and disposed of, free of charge, at the Fort Totten Transfer Station.
“We expect to collect up to 10,000 tons of leaves, to be turned into compost, an organic treasure for District gardeners,” said Director Howland. “Compost will be available to individuals, community groups and gardening clubs between March and October next year.”
Residents should place leaf piles on curbside space, rather than in the street or in storm drains. Piles should contain leaves only. Tree limbs, bricks, dirt, rocks or other items can damage leaf collection equipment. Leaves placed in the street reduce on-street parking and can create a fire hazard. Residents can also bag leaves, instead of piling them, for collection by DPW trash trucks. Because plastic bags can damage equipment, DPW requests that paper rather than plastic bags are used. Residents with alley trash collection may place their bagged leaves next to their trash container for collection with the trash, as truck capacity allows. Bagged leaves will not be composted.
Every street in the District will have at least two collections during the fall. Snow and ice storms can cause changes to the leaf collection schedule. DPW’s leaf collection schedule, including the date when each street is scheduled for leaf collection, will be mailed to each household that uses DPW trash and recycling services. The brochure also provides detailed instructions on how residents should prepare their leaves for collection. Find additional information about leaf collection on DPW’s Web site.