We have already been a month into the fall season. The leaves have already changed colors covering parking lots and yards. Rakes have been pulled out of storage and piles of leaves have been organized. Homeowners and lawn care providers have adjusted their outdoor work ethic based on the season. As the leaves are changing, the residents of Jefferson County in Louisville must also change the way they dispose of yard waste.
A few months ago, the Waste Management District voted to ban the use of plastic bags for yard waste in hopes to assure that leaves and other garden debris is composted and do not end up in a local landfill. Residents can replace plastic bags by either using paper bags or reusable containers.
“The amount of plastic is enormous,” said Metro Solid Waste employee Pete Flood. “It’s very difficult to remove.” Flood also says that all the yard waste collected in Jefferson County every year would fill 8,000 trucks, stretching for 56 miles.
“Because the plastic bags get mixed with the yard waste, and we are trying to compost that yard waste,” says Solid Waste Public Coordinator Angela Kessans. “And being able to get those plastic bags out is extremely difficult.”
The ban is not enforced until January 1, 2015, however, Kessans says now is a good time to get into the habit of using other containers.
“We’re starting the upcoming leaf season, so people are going to start to have some of that, and why not go ahead and make the change now?” she asked. “It’s usually a lot less expensive and it’s usually easier that using the plastic bags.”
Throughout the months of this fall, crews will pick up the leaves in plastic bags, but will leave information pamphlets and paper bags on the residents’ doorsteps. Doing so, will help people to not be taken by surprise when the regulation goes into effect. People who refuse to follow the regulation will be fined $50 to start off.
If you are unaware of the effect plastic bags have on the environment, here are some facts:
- The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas and chemicals. Its production is toxic to the air.
- Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That’s over 1 million plastic bags used per minute.
- Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
- Less than 5 percent of plastic grocery bags are recycling in the United States.
- Plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to break down. So if an animal ingests a bag, once it dies, the plastic re-enters the environment, posing a continuous threat to wildlife.
Here at Budget Dumpster, we support the idea of composting your yard waste and diverting plastic waste into landfills. If you need to tackle a waste removal project, contact Budget Dumpster. We are also proud to serve the City of Louisville dumpster rentals.