For immediate release - February 21, 2012
Leesburg Turns Tons of Yard Waste into Free and Environmentally Friendly Mulch
The City of Leesburg is helping the environment and saving almost $50,000 in disposal costs by recycling tons of unwanted yard waste into free mulch.
The free mulch is available at the front gates of the city’s former landfill on Neely Drive. Fruitland Park-based Logan Sitework Contractors Inc. is working this week to grind up 9,000 cubic yards of bulky tree trimmings, limbs, bushes and other yard waste that was collected along curbsides around Leesburg since late last year. The process is expected to create a total of 900 cubic yards of mulch that is available to the public until the large supply runs out.
The grinding cost nearly $15,000. But it saves Leesburg about $49,770 in transportation costs and disposal fees required to dump more than 900 loads of the yard debris into a private landfill on County Road 466-A. The city saved hundreds of hours of labor required to make so many hour-long round trips to the landfill. The efforts also saved fuel and wear on city vehicles.
The cost benefits quickly add up. However, grinding yard waste into mulch is just as beneficial to protecting our environment. Leesburg saved 9,000 cubic yards of tree limbs and other debris from taking up space at a landfill.
“We’re always looking for different ways that we can streamline our process,” said Jimmy Feagle, Deputy Director of Leesburg’s Public Works Department. “This cuts costs and helps the environment.”
The waste debris is recycled for mulch that can be used for ground cover, walking paths and other areas to help improve esthetics, retain ground moisture or prevent soil erosion. Decreasing the garbage going into landfills is important.
Most of Leesburg’s refuse – almost 21,000 tons a year - now goes to Lake County’s waste-to-energy plant in Okahumpka, where it helps to create enough electricity for 8,200 homes annually. Leesburg also recycles nearly 400 tons of materials each year.
Similar efforts from governments across the country reduced the amount of solid waste dumped at landfills by 7 million tons between 1990 and 2008, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The number of landfills in the United States declined from nearly 8,000 in 1988 to only 1,800 in 2008.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.