By Kelly Nicholaides
for Montclair Local
The Montclair Mayor and Council approved a $505,800 five-year contract with Nature’s Choice Corporation to haul away and compost 10,000 cubic yards of Montclair’s leaves annually.
The town will save a penny per cubic yard the first year. The contract starts at $9.23 per cubic yard and rises to $10.95 by 2022. The contract date begins Oct. 15, and end May 15, 2023.
From January to date, the township spent $281,006 on leaf collection, based on a rate of $9.24 per cubic yard. For the same amount of usage with the new rate of $9.23, Montclair will save $304, township communications director Katya Wowk confirmed.
Leaves make up 13 percent of the nation’s waste.
“Something to keep in mind that most people don’t know is that raking or blowing fallen leaves into the street or storm drains is considered littering and is illegal (littering includes leafs, yardwaste, dirt, etc.). When leaves get in street drains, they accumulate on the surface of the body of water that the drain dumps to. This degrades the overall health of waterways by increasing nutrient loads and increasing turbidity,” according to Sierra Club officials.
In Montclair, leaves are collected for recycling when placed at the curb in biodegradable bags weighing a maximum of 50 pounds. Leaf bags must contain leaves only, with an exception such as small yard debris such as twigs in trace amounts.
Grass clippings are collected from May through mid-October on regularly scheduled recycling days.
The use of leaf blowers by landscapers is limited to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and up to 8 p.m. for homeowners; on Saturdays between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for landscapers, and up to 8 p.m. for homeowners; and on Sundays, Good Friday and Thanksgiving, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for all use.
The operation of leaf blowers is limited to the time period between March 1 and June 30, and between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15.
Branches must be cut into lengths of 36 inches or less and must be securely bundled, according to the ordinance. Bundles may not weigh more than 25 pounds each, and will be collected with leaves or grass.
Wood chips/chunks, tree bark, acorns, miscellaneous nuts and tree droppings can be put in 50 pound biodegradable bags, limited to two. Shrubs cannot weigh more than 25 pounds. Logs and stumps are not collected with the normal refuse collection. Residents must make their own arrangements for disposal.
Christmas trees are collected on a weekly basis during the month of January. Wreaths are collected separately with refuse.
Yard waste collection is Monday and Thursday for Section 1, and Tuesday and Friday for Section 2. Fall leaf collection is Oct. 15 through Dec. 1.
Residents are reminded that sweeping leaves into the streets or near sewer grates is illegal and could also clog storm drains and cause flooding.
The Sierra Club recommends that homeowners mulch leaves to use to overwinter lawns or in beds.