PORTAGE | Despite encouragement by city officials for residents to quit bagging their grass clippings, plastic and biodegradable bags keep piling up outside of the city's street department facility.
So far, said Director of Public Works A.J. Monroe, some 20 plus tons of bagged clippings that have been dropped off at the street department have been hauled to the city's compost facility. The city will be transporting the clippings to a Newton County landfill at a cost of $21 per ton.
Monroe said getting rid of the excess clippings will cost the city somewhere between $12,000 and $20,000 when all is said and done. That eats into the savings the city hopes to see from the new trash and recycling system introduced earlier this year.
Sanitation workers have stopped picking up grass clippings at the curb and have warned some residents, with a sticker, who are trying to dispose of the yard waste with their other trash, said Monroe.
The city has been encouraging residents to "grass cycle," to use mulching lawn mowers and leave the clippings on their yards to decompose.
Monroe said some, but not all, residents are heeding the advice.
Officials are hoping that having to dump the excess clippings in a landfill will be a one-time event, Monroe said.
He said they've run out of space at the city compost site. They will be moving mature compost to other city sites, such as the Crisman Pond area to make room for new compost. They have also built a concrete bunker that will hold larger amounts of clippings until they are ready to be mixed with other composting materials.
"We are trying to start fresh," said Monroe.