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City of Columbia discussed allowing non-city logo bags for curbside yard waste; no decision made


At the City of Columbia meeting Monday night, no decision was made regarding a change to the City Code that requires all curbside yard waste to be placed in city logo bags.

Watch a replay of the meeting in the player below.

This change was a part of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget process to improve working conditions for solid waste staff and reduce large volumes of material and bulky items being placed at the curb for collection.

Currently, there are no provisions within the City Code that allow customers to place yard waste at the curb for collection in non-city-provided bags.

This proposed change would allow non-city bags full of yard waste to be collected at the curb for two specific weeks each fall, one in November and one in December.

During these weeks, yard waste placed in any trash bag would be collected along with normal trash in City logo bags on the normal collection day.

Ward 1 council member Pat Fowler recommended getting an alternative route in place to pick up the yard waste and take it to a mulch site. David Sorrell, director of utilities, said it is not uncommon to see people leave 30 to 50 bags of leaves around this time of year.

Sorrell said this wouldn't be as simple as adding one additional route; he said it would require five or six routes. Sorrell said with the 19 vacancies in the solid waste division, this would be impossible to do.

Long time Columbia resident, Jeff Clouse, said he hadn't had any issues with the current system because he has a smaller family. Clouse says he has been planning all year for yard waste in the fall and has saved up 44 city logo bags in thoughts that it would be his only option to use.

"I might rake my yards twice during the fall and throw away 10 to 15 bags each time, so that's hard to do with what we're allotted for the city bags," Clouse said.

Another Columbia resident, Huldah Belay, said she thinks the change would defeat the purpose of the city bags making working conditions easier for solid waste staff.

Clouse said he is also concerned with how many residents will use the two weeks for its intended use.

"I mean, are the collectors going to check all the bags to make sure it's yard waste and not something else? Probably not, so I'm sure there will be some abuse there," Clouse said.

On Monday, the City Council heard this report, and if the decision is made to move forward, the revisions will be introduced at the City Council meeting on Nov. 1.

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.


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