TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - We have been talking about leaf collection for months now, but have you ever wondered, what happens to the leaves after they are taken from your curb? It is not as simple as you may think.
Due to early snowstorms and a harsh winter, even though we are getting to the end of February leaf pickup is still going on. Once they are finally collected, the city takes them to two large lots that once sat vacant, but now house your composting leaves.
Jeremy Mikolajczyk, Commissioner of Streets, Bridges and Harbor for the City of Toledo explained the process.
"Once we pick up those leaves they go to one of two of our compost facilities, or if we're in the area of our partner, Cleveland Recycling, they could possibly go there also, and we end up recycling those and turning them into a mulch compost that we use as a top for all of our demolition sites," Mikolajczyk said.
Nearly a dozen buildings are knocked down by the city each week, weather permitting. Once demolition is done, they are filled with fill dirt, followed by the top soil made from what was once your leaves.
Currently, nothing else is mixed in, although the city is working with the Port Authority to see if dredgings from the river are clean enough to be added in as well. This would both increase the supply and save money on something they would otherwise buy.
Mikolajczyk says it is not enough material.
"Last year we did about 465 lots and we went through just about every bit that we had of compost and we did end up buying a little bit of top soil," Mikolajczyk said.
Crews use a machine called a wind-row turner. It goes over each of the lined piles of leaves to keep air from getting built up underneath.
This allows the leaves to compost faster so that they are ready to go in about three to four months to be used year-round.