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City Of Bloomington Looking For Volunteers To Compost Their Own Autumn Leaves

A photo of autumn leaves and yard waste in a Bloomington street.

Leaves and yard waste line a residential road in Bloomington's Elm Heights neighborhood in autumn 2020. (Emma Atkinson, WFIU/WTIU News)

The City of Bloomington is recruiting 1,000 households to participate in an expansion of a leaf collection pilot program. Participants will be asked to compost as many of their leaves as possible, rather than having the city come collect them in the fall and winter.  

Devta Kidd, is Bloomington’s director of innovation. She said city council looked at its budget in 2019 and asked if leaf collection could be cheaper and done in a more sustainable way. 

An initial leaf collection pilot took place in 2020 with 22 homes, and Kidd said for about 60 percent of participants, composting went well. But the other 40 percent didn’t like the change. She says those were mostly older adults with large, leafy yards.  

“While we thought that the pilot was really successful, we definitely didn’t want to move forward to create a new policy or service changes based on the voices of 22 households.”  

Kidd said leaf collection crews also gave feedback, and based on their input, leaf collection started a week later than previous years.  

LISTEN NOW: Where Does Yard Debris Go After It's Picked Up?

Leaf collection crews have also hired people from Centerstone to come rake in neighborhoods before a collection truck came through, which she says helped speed the collection process up by about a week.  

Kidd said these new practices will continue for 2021.  

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