Yard Waste, Done Improperly, Is Problematic
Yard waste is big business in Lafayette. Fifteen thousand to 20,000 tons of yard waste ends up at Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Compost Facility each year to be processed into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
If the 54,000 households served by Allied Waste do not properly set out yard waste, then the material will not be collected, according to LCG’s Environmental Quality Manager. “There are rules for having yard waste collected in front of one’s home, and there are reasons for those rules,” Mark Pope said. “Many citizens follow the rules for proper yard waste set-out; they are to be commended and they contribute to the system functioning efficiently.”
Size and weight requirements are necessary because branches that are too long will fall off the tub grinder at the LCG Compost Facility at 400 Dugas Rd. Additionally, if individually-cut pieces of large branches or a cut-up tree trunk exceed 50 pounds, then the tub grinder – used to process yard waste – cannot efficiently process such a large piece of wood.
Pope recited the rules for yard waste collection: “Branches must be cut to four-foot lengths, and laid neatly in a pile. No single piece of wood can weigh over 50 pounds. Smaller yard waste such as grass clippings, shrub trimmings, or twigs must be bagged or placed in a 35-gallon can. Yard waste should be placed as close to the road as safely possible. Yard waste is not collected from empty lots or from businesses. Absolutely nothing but natural plant growth will be collected as yard waste. Piles of yard waste cannot contain any processed wood such as 2 x 4’s or pieces of plywood.”
Pope also reminded residents to not place yard waste, especially a pile of branches, near mailboxes, telephone poles or other utility boxes, and yard waste should not be placed under low-hanging tree branches or low utility wires.
Automated equipment is sometimes used to pick up larger quantities of branches, and low-hanging branches or wires interfere with the over-head operation of the automated grapple lift-truck. “Some people see the big automated truck picking up branches and they think, ‘hey, if I can drag it to the road, that truck can pick it up’,” Pope said. “People need to consider the quantity of yard waste LCG processes, and know that long branches are nothing but a hindrance to our operation.”
Yard waste is collected each week on the same day that garbage is collected, and this applies for all customers served by Allied Waste. Allied Waste has acknowledged that they are behind on yard waste collection. To rectify the situation, the company has brought in crews of workers and equipment from other cities to assist the Lafayette operation with getting caught up with yard waste collection.
“We are in the peak of hurricane season. Everybody wants to see yard waste that is set out in front of their homes cleared as soon as possible. If folks follow the rules for collection, the system will work efficiently,” Pope said.