By now, you’re probably aware of the new City ordinance effective April 1. At least, the City’s Recycling Office hopes you are.
Flyers have been included in our water bills and ads are running on radio and television to inform us about the “Don’t Bag It” program. That’s right – it’s the grass clippings issue.
The new ordinance requires that grass clippings will no longer be picked up with our trash. It has been well-documented that those millions of tiny blades can be put to good use – they can even work wonders for our lawns and gardens.
The average amount of yard waste collected with our trash is 16 percent; this amount increases to 50 percent during the peak yard-care months. In other words, half of the garbage being sent to the landfills between March and September could be avoided by merely not bagging grass clippings.
But decreased volume to landfills isn’t the only benefit of this program. Leaving clippings on your lawn reduces your mowing time by nearly half, while returning valuable nutrients to the soil.
The idea is to not remove more than one-third of the grass blades when you mow. Of course, this means you need to mow more often, or you can purchase mulching blades for your lawn mower and dice those little blades.
If leaving the clippings on your lawn isn’t an option you can live with, consider composting. A compost pile is an ideal resting place for your clippings, as well as for produce scraps, coffee grounds, and virtually any kitchen waste other than meat.
Just keep the pile moist and turn it with a shovel or rake every few weeks. With a compost pile, you can decrease your garbage output and create your own organic mulch.
If composting doesn’t appeal to you either, consider contributing your clippings to the City’s compost projects. Three locations are available for “communal” dumping: Bachman Transfer Station (Dry Gulch), 9500 Harry Hines (670-6150); Oak Cliff Transfer Station, 4610 S. Westmoreland (670-1927); and McCommas Landfill, 5100 Youngblood (670-0977). Lawn service companies have been informed about the new ordinance, so if you don’t choose to “let it lie,” make sure they deliver your bags to an appropriate composting facility.
The only other disposal option is to hire a private hauler. Considering the many benefits derived from yard waste, it makes no sense to throw it away – much less pay an additional price for the disposal.
Here’s what to expect for you rebellious and procrastinating types: Bags of grass clippings that are put out with your trash will be left behind, and the sanitation crew will put orange stickers on them.
These reminders will alert you about the alternate disposal options discussed in this article. Further noncompliance will result in a referral to the Code Enforcement Division of the Housing and Neighborhood Services department.
If you need help with composting or mowing strategies, attend a special program Saturday, April 10, at Lakewood Branch Library, 6121 Worth, beginning at 10 a.m.
Bert Whitehead, author of “Don’t Waste Your Wastes – Compost ‘Em,” will present a slide show with waste-disposal tips. Also, Lakewood organic gardener Howard Garrett will discuss organic gardening and composting.
The format includes plenty of opportunities for questions, and information will be available about the Dallas Organic Gardening Club, which meets the first Thursday of every month at Texas Blooms, 5016 Miller.
Also, you might want to attend a joint Town Hall meeting hosted by Councilmen Glenn Box and Donna Halstead at Lake Highlands Junior High, 10301 Kingsley, scheduled Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m.
Curbside pickup issues are slated for discussion. The bad news is that regular curbside pickup of recyclables in our neighborhoods isn’t scheduled to begin until sometime in 1997.
The good news, however, is that the Recycling Office says the plans aren’t set in stone. A big turnout at this Town Hall meeting certainly would show our support for the curbside pickup program.