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Thursday, December 7, 2023

New leaf collection rules saving time, money in High Point

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s been nearly five months since the ,City of High Point stopped collecting yard waste in plastic bags.

FOX8 is getting our first look at the effect its having at the Ingleside Composting Facility.

When yard waste gets dropped off at the facility, the leaves and debris go through a machine to grind down the product.

When the city allowed people to bag their leaves in plastic, the material would often get caught in the machine, forcing leaders to pay for costly repairs. Since they ditched plastic and introduced paper bags and yard waste containers, it’s a much smoother process.

“It’s going much quicker,” said Melinda King, High Point’s assistant public services director. “It’s much easier to grind. They’re grinding faster. They’ve actually even been able to grind it smaller, which will allow us to create more compost in a faster manner.”

Last year’s collection pile is full of pieces of plastic. The city has gotten rid of 99.9 percent of the total plastic from its compost.

“The biggest change will be the environmental impacts,” said King. “If you as you walk around the site, you can just see there’s shredded piece of pieces of plastic everywhere and you know in time that will go away. We just will see just a much better product coming out for the people to buy, so we can basically call it organic.”

City leaders realize the new system is something people will have to adapt to. Between September 1 and November 17, yard waste crews issued more than 1,400 non-compliance tags tor people not following the new rules. The city will give people two non-compliance warnings. On the third time, people not following the new rules will receive a $250 fine.

“I know it’s difficult when you have change and especially when it impacts your pocket because the bags are just a little bit more expensive,” said King.

But the small expense is making a big impact. It’s easier on workers who no longer have to haul heavy plastic bags and it makes a better product to go in your garden.

City leaders are making sure High Point grocery and hardware stores sell the paper bags for people to buy. They said many have opted to use yard waste carts instead. Since May, they’ve sold more than 1,300 of them.

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