The convenience of hauling grass clippings, tree branches, weeds and other debris to the curb instead of the transfer station is making Valley Garbage Service’s yard waste pickup service popular.
Valley Garbage last month began offering curb-side service for an additional fee to its customers in selected Valley neighborhoods. Since, customers in Liberty Lake, Ponderosa, Northwood and Millwood have slowly begun to sign up for the service, said Levi Strauss, Valley Garbage general manager.
Warmer weather the past two weeks has given the program a boost, Strauss said. About 700 customers have signed up in the Valley and on the South Hill, where the service was offered first.
Valley Garbage, which initially ordered 1,000 of the yard waste carts, has ordered another 1,000 in anticipation of a rush to sign up for the service.
“Now that people are mowing their lawns, things are getting very busy for us,” Strauss said.
The yard waste pickup service is part of a push to ease pressure on the waste-to-energy plant. Yard waste picked up by Valley garbage is being taken to the county’s transfer station, where it is shipped to Colbert and turned into compost.
Millwood resident Chuck Brown signed up for the yard waste service last month and has stuffed the yard cart while working in his tidy yard the past couple of weeks.
“It just makes it so much easier,” said Brown, who was stacking decorative bricks around a flower bed Thursday in front of his Millwood home. “Usually it’s pretty full.”
Strauss said Valley Garbage hopes 20 percent of its 30,000 customers will eventually sign up for the service.
Participants are issued a 95-gallon container - three times the size of a regular can. The yard carts have wheels so customers can roll them around like wheelbarrows, Strauss said.
The yard carts are intended to hold unbagged grass clippings, leaves, garden waste, pine cones, pine needles, weeds, brush, tree trimmings, beauty bark, and Christmas trees.
Limbs cannot be more than three inches in diameter or three feet in length. Sod must be less than four inches thick and free of rocks.
Rocks, soil, stumps, and root balls are not allowed, and the lids on the cans must close.
Yard waste pickup service runs weekly from March through November for $12 a month. The yard carts are emptied monthly the remainder of the year at no charge.
Two specially equipped trucks currently collect the yard waste on the same day the customer’s regular garbage is picked up. A mechanical arm on the back of the truck picks up the yard carts and empties them into the truck’s hopper.
Eventually, five routes are planned, possibly by next summer. So far, response has been positive.
“People seem to like it because it’s convenient,” Strauss said.