Garbage crews won’t pick up leaves in plastic bags

Riverhead residents can no longer put plastic bags filled with leaves at their curbs, town officials said.
The highway department will also, as usual, not be doing any curbside loose leaf pickup in the spring, as it has done in the fall.

But people can get free biodegradable leaf bags from the town highway department yard on Route 58, said town Highway Superintendent George Woodson.

Residents can place leaves in the biodegradeable paper bags year round to be picked up by Maggio Sanitation — the town’s contractor that made the call to stop picking up plastic — on days when their yard waste is normally picked up. That day varies between Thursday or Friday, depending on where people live.

Residents can also put leaves in a garbage can to be picked up, officials said.

The town permits up to 12 paper bags filled with leaves per week, except during certain designated times in the fall.
Mr. Woodson bought the bags last year in an attempt to get residents to use the bags and not put leaves at the curb, although residents were given a choice of paper bags or loose curbside pickup. The free bags, which are left over from last year, will be available for pickup on Fridays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the highway department yard.

He said residents have been coming to the highway department this month seeking bags to use with their carter pickup. Such bags can also be purchased at hardware stores.

Mr. Woodson said his department “probably” will do loose leaf pickup next fall.

Riverhead Town Board members are split on the issue of whether to halt what Mr. Woodson has described as a pricey and time-consuming loose leaf curbside pickup program.

Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman George Gabrielsen support the loose leaf pickup, while Councilmen John Dunleavy and Jim Wooten support the paper bags program. Councilwoman Jodi Giglio was absent at the section of Thursday’s public work session in Town Hall, at which the leaf pickup was being discussed.

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