Marked yard waste clipped from pickup

Local News

ST. JOSEPH, Ill. (WCIA) — People learned more about why their bags of grass, trees and limbs weren’t picked up by the village. 

They have pickup every month, but this time around they found bags left behind, marked with x’s and now they’re left wondering why.

There were a handful of people I spoke with in town who had no idea what was going on. There are others who took notice of it on the village’s website.

Whole trees and grass will not be accepted. The maximum length of branches is 8 feet and the maximum diameter is 10 inches. Brush trimmings and twigs should be placed in PAPER bags. Do not stack brush around power poles or fences. “

Bags and bags of yard waste were left on the curb of houses around St. Joseph, so we stopped by the public works office to speak with Mike Peters, the superintendent to ask why the grass is off limits. 

“Grass does not burn. It just smokes and smolders,” says Peters. 

That’s why he and his team have gone around town marking the bags.

“You kind of feel the bag. If they look heavy, you open them up then that’s when they get the white x’s on them to let them know we won’t take them,” states Peters. 

It was the white x’s on the bags that stood out like sore thumbs. 

“I’ve never seen x’s on every single bag, so I was really confused. Me and my friends were walking around and we saw x’s on every single person’s bag,” says Makayla Duckwitz.

She wasn’t alone. Her grandfather, William Duckwitz also noticed them. 

“I guess I wouldn’t have known until you showed up or until they didn’t take the bags with them,” says William Duckwitz.

So, we checked out the village’s website together.

“This ruling just came out this year in April and no notice has been sent out to us,” states William Duckwitz.

After he read the guidelines, here were his thoughts:

“I was thinking that there’s no way there’s no way that they went through every bag that they picked up within the last two weeks whether it was grass clippings or what it was,”says William Duckwitz. 

With those rules handy, this is what we found. 

“We went through my bags and there are two bags that have grass clippings in them and I knew that, but every other bag if you look what’s in it it’s not grass clippings. There’s no grass clippings in any of the rest of the bags. Does that look like grass clippings to you?”

St. Joseph does have a dump within the village limits. They can only burn there when the winds come from the east and south. 

St. Joe isn’t the only place that has these types of rules about yard waste, so make sure you look up that information on your village or city website. 

The Environmental Protection Agency says 31,000,000 tons of yard waste is generated in the U.S. each year. They say burning leaves and other yard wastes pollutes the air. It can also lead to uncontrolled fires. The EPA says when it decomposes in landfills, it creates methane gas.

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