Ask the Ecologist:

by Belle Bergner

Q: I lost the flyer from the City that tells us how to get rid of our leaves and other debris this fall. Can you print that for us?

A: Sure thing. Here are the City’s tips and requests to make their job easier during fall leaf pick-up which will occur from now until Nov. 15 and after, weather permitting.

· Shred leaves with your lawnmower on the grass, or compost them. Grass and leaf clippings left on the lawn will decompose over the winter and nourish the soil, too.

· Do not put leaves in plastic bags; put them next to the curb in the street.

· Garden debris such as flowers and vegetable plants may be placed on top of your leaf piles at the curb

· Do not put large brush in the leaf piles – call for a special brush pickup: 286-8282.

· Keep piles away from sewer grates

· Keep debris away from storm drains in the street.

· Brush can also be taken to one of the City’s Self-Help Centers, located at 6660 N. Industrial Road and 3879 W. Lincoln Ave at any time in the off season.

Some additional tips and information to keep your property clean and environmentally sound include:

· Put Halloween pumpkins in your green garbage cart or on a compost pile, not on leaf piles in the street.

· Compostable items include food waste (except animal products), grass, twigs, prunings, flowers, and leaves. Start a compost pile now with an old trash can in the back of your yard – it’ll keep churning even through the winter!

· Put pet waste in a plastic bag and put it in your garbage cart. Pet waste that is left on lawns is unsanitary and may runoff into storm drains that go to our rivers and lakes, polluting our water.

· If your trash or recycling pick up is missed by your garbage hauler for some reason, call for a pick up: 286-8282.

Send your ecological inquiries to our resident ecologist at

Riverwest Currents online edition -November, 2006