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Raking Leaves Sucks

The deciduous trees, which are now in full fall color, are beginning to shed their leaves. When I was growing up in Delaware County, the annual ritual involved blowing the leaves onto a large tarp and hauling them out to the curb, where the Borough would come along and suck them up with a giant vacuum truck. The job could be done in an hour or two. That was also practice when I lived in Chester County, judging from the piles of leaves I’d see in fall. When I got to Bucks County, it was tough to believe we were back in the dark ages where leaf collection involved having to bag them and put them out at the curb.

Bucks Right is mocking Southampton Township managers for making lame excuses as to why the Township won’t switch to leaf vacuuming, which is a far more efficient way to do leaf collection. They do cite cost, which I think is a legitimate issue. I wonder why we have to make this a debate about taxing and spending. I’d gladly pay the Township a Jackson or two to bring a giant suck-o-matic over to my house so I don’t have to bag. Why not do it as a fee for service rather than funding it with tax dollars?

23 Responses to “Raking Leaves Sucks”

  1. Mobo says:

    Here’s your opportunity to start your own PRIVATE leaf collection service. Why would you look to the .gov first?

  2. Justin Buist says:

    Around here everybody just rakes them into the ditch and torches the pile.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Because you need government permission to pile leaves on the curb. I’d have to particular problem with it being an entirely private enterprise, but there needs to be some government action to allow people do set the leaves out.

  4. Sebastian says:

    er… make that, “I’d have no”

  5. You can always do what I do, suck them up with a bagging lawnmower and put them in a compost pile. It ends up making freat mulch for next years gardening.

  6. Bitter says:

    You assume we garden. We only kill plants and grass.

  7. Flighterdoc says:

    The government always counts the cost of a new service – but they never count the savings from canceling one like not having to pick the leaves up, landfill charges, etc.

    Could be worse: In parts of Ontario, Canada you not only have to bag them, they have to be in specially approved compostable bags (available for around $0.50 each) to have them hauled off. The bags have instructions wrt how much to fill them, how to roll the tops down, etc and if you don’t follow those rules, they don’t get picked up. Of course, filling the bag to the prescribed line only gets it about half full.

    I wonder why it’s OK to have paper (no plastic) bags for leaves, at $0.50 each, but you can’t get paper bags for your groceries at the grocery store? The bags at the grocery store only cost a nickel, however: Cheaper than buying dedicated garbage can bags.

    Being an American, I can’t believe how passive these Canadians are. Anything the government does to infringe liberty and freedom is welcomed with relish by these sheep.

  8. Flighterdoc says:

    Oh – the landfill charges would be higher for bagged leaves, the vac’d leaves could be composted or mulched: Not plastic bags full of leaves. So bagging is more expensive.

  9. Sebastian says:

    We have the bag requirements here too. They have to be paper bags that are compostable, and cost about 50 cents each. I typically use about 20-30 bags a season. I have a lot of trees.

  10. Freiheit says:

    “Here’s your opportunity to start your own PRIVATE leaf collection service. Why would you look to the .gov first?” +1000

  11. Sebastian says:

    See previous comment about it being illegal to pile leaves in the street. You can’t start a business asking people to do something the Township will fine you for. The only way you can put out leaves is in bags.

  12. Mobo says:

    Actually, they don’t have to be piled up on the street. They could be raked and collected right from your lawn. Fall is a slow season for landscapers. This could extend their working season by a couple of months and they could postpone seasonal layoffs.

  13. Alpheus says:

    I’m all for someone starting this business, and if I could get some sort of truck or trailer for doing this, it would be interesting to do. Unfortunately, I, personally, am not in a position to start a business right now.

    Since I’m interested in options right now, I’m intrigued by the possibility…I just wish I was in a position to try it!

  14. Carl from Chicago says:

    Raking leaves is good physical exercise. I suspect we could all use a bit more of that. Plus the leaves smell good, look good, and sound good. Why does raking leaves “suck” exactly? Surely you don’t want more time to sit in front of a computer …

  15. Sebastian says:

    Eh, I’d rather go take a hike than rake leaves.

  16. Carl from Chicago says:

    Well, since you put it that way … yeah. Me too.

  17. Sebastian says:

    I generally resent anything that smacks of work :)

  18. Carl from Chicago says:

    Yeah, well so do most of my students … and that sucks (not the work). I sometimes ponder that our collective aversion to hard work (which may or may not come with an aversion to responsibility) is fueling the downfall of our great nation. Generally, it seems, more and more people want more and more for less and less effort. That simply cannot lead us anywhere good.

  19. Sebastian says:

    I should say I resent anything that smacks of physical labor.

  20. Mobo says:

    Someone should invent a furnace that can safely burn leaves (along with junk mail, cardboard trash, newspapers, etc) as a supplemental home heating source.

    Maybe some sort of hydraulic press could be used along with a binding agent (wax, maybe) to press all that crap into solid logs which could then be used for fuel in the furnace. The press could be small enough for individual homeowners to keep in the basement.

    The savings in fuel costs could be enough to motivate all of us lazy blog nerds to get off our butts and rake up some leaves!

  21. Justin Buist says:

    Well, after reading the comments now I’m wondering why homeowners couldn’t just pile them up in their yard or driveway (not the curb!) and have somebody come suck them up.

    And then I wonder if you couldn’t take a septic tank pumper truck, fit it with a mulcher of some kind on the “in” hose, grind the leaves up nice and fine and dump them into the tank which was pre-filled with water so they could pump out the mush wherever it is they dump the other biodegradable stuff they deal with.

    Or maybe the local excavator could rig up a suction system, attach it to a dump truck, and make a nice compost pile for himself out of the mess.

    Just ideas. I don’t know enough about either business to know if it’d be worth their time, effort, or money in equipment.

  22. Sebastian says:

    Well, at that point, you might as well just hire a landscaper to come remove the leaves with cheap, questionably legal labor. Which I am seriously considering this year, actually.

  23. Sendarius says:

    Mobo wrote:
    Someone should invent a furnace that can safely burn leaves (along with junk mail, cardboard trash, newspapers, etc) as a supplemental home heating source.

    … and hippies. Don’t forget the hippies!!

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