After several delays, Houston’s new yard waste regime finally goes into effect this week. From now on, if you want city trucks to pick up your leaves and lawn goodies, you’ll need to put them in city-approved compostable bags. The 39-gallon bags cost 50 to 80 cents each — as much as 8 times the price of conventional plastic bags — but city officials claim the change will save $1.5 million a year in waste-disposal fees and divert 60,000 tons of material from local landfills. The money saved will be used to expand the city’s automated curbside recycling program, but nobody’s reporting how we’re possibly going to make up the landfill gap. Don’t feel like shelling out for the bags? The Solid Waste Management Dept. is encouraging thrifty homeowners and yard crews to adopt the complicated technique of “grasscycling” — leaving grass clippings on lawns — and to start their own composting programs. In a few weeks, the city will begin doling out fines of up to $2,000 to residents who put leaves and clipping into city garbage containers. [Houston Chronicle; where to buy]
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