Attention Rye gardeners.
If you want some mulch for your garden from the tons and tons of leaves that fall in Rye each season, you'll have to drive 60 miles to Goshen, NY or another choice location on the Eastern seaboard to get some. We wondered what happened to Rye's free mulch pile at Disbrow Park last spring when Rye public works told us the organic material was no longer available.
Now we know thanks to a report by Abby Gruen in the Sunday New York Times.
Gruen reports Westchester sends 85,000 tons of leaves out of the county by truck each fall. She pulled out Rye to illustrate her story:
"During the fall, the City of Rye’s six orange garbage trucks pick up thousands of leaf bags a week and dump them in a lot behind Disbrow Park on Oakland Avenue. The leaves are transferred to 100-cubic-yard trailers that are hauled upstate and to Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire by City Carting of Westchester, a private trucker. During a typical December week, Rye sends nine container trucks full of leaves on the road."
On the cost side, Gruen reports it cost $80/ton to burn waste at the county incinerator in Peekskill and only $40/ton to ship leaves off the various rural locations (including Goshen) via truck. Towns only pay $15/ton ($1.27 million/year of the total tab of $3.4 million) with the remainder of the tab being handled by the county (AKA, we buried the real cost so it looks better to the voters. Last we checked, imaginary funding by fairies was cut off).
"“The agreement is very economical for us,” said George J. Mottarella, city engineer for the City of Rye. One of the few municipalities in the county that has residents bag their own leaves, Rye also saves money because bagged leaves are lighter than moisture-laden leaves picked up from the street, Mr. Mottarella said."