Longtime DE readers, and people who know me in the real world, know that i really don't like the city's current yard waste program. Durham is practically the only city in NC that charges both a start up fee, to purchase a yard waste cart, and
a monthly subscription fee to have the cart emptied. It's almost certainly the only city which does that and
does not have a policy in place to pick up all of the leaves that fall off our trees each autumn.
The end result is predictable - fewer than 25% of Durham's households participate in the yard waste program, there's illegal dumping of yard waste in the trash, in empty lots, and in our creeks and streams, and whenever there's a decent amount of rain, our storm sewers back up and clog, resulting in localized urban flooding.
Nevertheless, every year for the past 6 years, Mrs. D. dutifully writes, over my protestations, a check to the city to continue our participation in the yard waste program. And, just as dutifully it seems, the Solid Waste Department neglects to send us the sticker for our container indicating that we've paid up. My part in the program is to not notice that the sticker hasn't arrived until after i do my winter raking and place all my leaf bags out at the curb.
That's what i did two weekends ago. I generally wait till late December/early January to do this project because, for some reason, the trees on my block tend to hold on to their leaves till after Christmas. Some of my oaks still haven't dropped their leaves. And on Friday, Jan. 11th, the fruits of my labor lined the curb in front of my house, waiting for the yard waste truck. I made sure no cars blocked the path. When i got home that afternoon, all the other yard waste on the block had been picked up, except for mine.
That's when i realized that the sticker on the brown cart said "good through Sept. 07." So i called Mrs. D., who confirmed that we were paid up. I called Durham One-Call, who transferred me to the yard waste program, who confirmed that we were paid up, that a sticker had never been mailed, that one would be put in the mail that very afternoon, and that a supervisor would be on a truck the very next morning (Saturday the 12th) to pick up my yard waste. I said i appreciated that, but that it wasn't necessary. So long as it got picked up before the bags fell apart i'd be happy. She assured me it was no trouble.
So i was a bit surprised when i saw a yard waste truck drive up my block on Saturday morning, turn around at the end of the street, and drive away, without touching my yard waste. Maybe it was still a sticker issue?
I called back on Monday afternoon, spoke to a different person in the yard waste program who confirmed that we were paid up, that a sticker hadn't been sent to us yet, that she was putting one in the mail immediately, and that when i got it i should put it on the cart. And that my yard waste would be picked up on the next scheduled run through the neighborhood, which is tomorrow. Meantime, i should just leave my yard waste at the curb.
Sticker arrived in the mail on Tuesday. I put it on the cart immediately.
And lo and behold, when i got home from work last night, the yard waste had magically disappeared. Now i can get the leaves that are piled up in the backyard out to the curb this weekend.
I can't wait till we lose this program later this year, and start picking up everyone's yard waste regardless of whether they've got a sticker or not. Kudos to Donald Long for getting council to go along with the new program.UPDATE
: Cool. Our second yard waste sticker arrived today. Maybe i can sell it on eBay.
Labels: 27701, Durham, trash
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