On Monday, Nov. 2, City of Knoxville Public Service Department crews will transition from collecting curbside brush to primarily collecting piles of leaves – lots of leaves.
Over four months last year, City crews collected about 6,300 tons of leaves.
The fallen and collected leaves are put to good use. They are delivered to Living Earth, where they are mulched and composted with other organic material into various yard products that the company markets and sells. Living Earth has operations in Knoxville and Nashville as well as in Texas.
Living Earth also provides the City with up to 1,000 cubic yards of hardwood mulch and 200 cubic yards of playground mulch annually that City horticulture crews use to landscape beds and parks.
Each year, at the close of October, City crews prepare their leaf collection equipment and finish up any final work from brush season. Leaf collection season continues through February.
“Leaf pickup is one of the City’s most popular services,” said Rachel Butzler, Deputy Public Service Director. “Our crews will visit every residence in the city and collect their leaves at least four times over four months. We try to make it as easy as possible for homeowners to get rid of their leaves in an environmentally-friendly manner.”
During leaf season, large vacuums are added to the City’s yard waste collection vehicles. Property owners need to rake their leaves into rows at the edge of their street in an unobstructed area for easy collection.
Bagging leaves is not only unnecessary – it’s actually detrimental. Plastic bags used to hold bagged leaves compromise the mulching process, so all leaves raked for pickup should be loose.
In addition, avoid mixing brush or other debris in the rows of leaves. Heavy, sharp or otherwise inappropriate materials can damage the vacuum equipment.
Questions about leaf collection? Want to find out when a crew will be collecting leaves next in your neighborhood? Call 3-1-1 or 865-215-4311. Or visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/leafpickup.
If you anticipate having some non-leaf yard waste in the coming months, don’t worry. The City continues to collect brush throughout the late fall and winter months, as resources allow. But crews will not be following the spring and summer schedule of brush pickups every two weeks.