Paper bags still an option for leaf disposal in village

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:00

    WARWICK-Bill Wadeson knows this is not a “one size fits all” community. His store has met the needs of Warwick residents for many years. There is a palette of paint colors to choose from. There are different sizes of U-Hauls to rent. Different brands of dog food to buy. And you can choose from either plastic or paper bags when deciding to rake up those leaves this fall. Even though the village decided to buy plastic bags as replacement bags when collecting the leaves from its residents, it will certainly pick up paper bags filled with leaves if that is what the residents choose to use. Wadeson has plenty of each type of bag in stock, but wanted to allay the fears of anyone who thinks paper will stand up less effectively than its less-ecological counterpart. “The paper bags do not fall apart in the weather,” said Wadeson. “They are two-ply paper, treated with biodegradable resin between the ply, making them tougher and more resilient than just plain paper.” Wadeson said the bags are made especially for leaf pick up and have been used for many years in many communities throughout the country, including Greenwood Lake. “The Village of Greenwood Lake has used them for five or six years at least and we’ve received no complaints or heard of any problems,” Wadeson said. He added that in addition to being better for the environment, the paper bags make easier work of actually getting the leaves into the bag. They stand up, as opposed to plastic bags which may require another set of hands to get it started. And they can sit in the weather for weeks without falling apart. As for cost, Wadeson said the cost of the paper bags would be less than 40 cents each to the consumer. If the village decided to go with paper, their cost would have been 35 cents for each 30-gallon bag, not 53 cents as originally reported. Plastic bags are costing 46 cents and hold 46 gallons. Even so, since the paper bags are smaller, the number of bags needed would cost the village more than the $8,000 budgeted this year. “Paper is very strong. It won’t tear when you put sticks in. They stack nicely and stand up nicely,” said Wadeson. “And they keep getting recycled. Think about the labor issue. Paper can be turned right into the ground. Ecologically, they are more sound.” With the plastic bags, a village employee is stationed at the recycling pile to cut open the bags and discard of them. For this year, there is no turning back for the village. The plastic bags are ordered. Of course, if consumers choose to buy paper leaf bags on their own this year instead of plastic, Wadeson will be happy to accommodate their preference.