Since the Western world discovered America, the east coast’s autumn foliage has been the most ubiquitously adored seasonal harbinger in the country. It is said that crates of golden leaves were sent back to the Queen, for no one could believe the stories of the fiery, radiant landscape that swept across the new world each fall. And while it is impossible to deny the grace of the season’s initial beauty, anyone with a backyard can also attest to the less romantic, rarely discussed late fall tradition of scooping congealed globs of muddy brown tree matter into giant black garbage bags with flimsy, plastic rakes.
We are, of course, talking about leaf collection. But thanks to the D.C. Department of Public Works, many District inhabitants will be relieved of some of the burden.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) began leaf collection last week, Nov. 7, and will continue through Jan. 14. They will be employing vacuum trucks to collect the bulk of the leaves, which are then composted—a much more friendly environmental alternative to having them dragged to the dump. Residents are asked to rake their leaves into piles by the curbside treebox space. DPW will also collect bagged leaves from the treebox space. In neighborhoods with alley trash/recycling collections, bagged leaves also may be placed where trash and recycling are collected, but these leaves will be disposed with the trash.
DPW asks that all leaves be raked into the treebox space the weekend before your street’s collection weeks. Only leaves should be collected, meaning no tree limbs, bricks, dirts, rocks, and the like. It is likely to damage equipment and delay collections. They also urge you to please use the treebox spaces provided, for raking leaves right inot the street is liable to cause parking problems and potentially even fires.
For the complete collection schedule, detailing the dates of collection in each Ward and Ward zone, along with other tips and useful information, visit DPW’s online calendar.