Monday, November 16, 2009

Erie Leaf Bag Issues

I haven't seen anything about this in Erie's "mainstream" media, but, word-of-mouth around my neighborhood is that area outlets have run out of the green leaf bags you're supposed to put your leaves in if you live in the City of Erie. I also found one local blogger who posted on this problem. It seems we had the exact same problem almost three years ago to the day, and I blogged about it then.

I'll start out by asking, does anyone know where I can get some more bags, as I'm down to like two and my oak leaves are just starting to fall? I think we avoided the shortage that last few years because of shorter raking seasons due to inclement weather. I remember years when the snow fell before my maples were even all down, not to mention the oaks. Well, this year the weather has been wonderful for raking and people have been taking advantage of it. I guess one option is raking the leaves into the street, which is actually illegal. The city seems to discourage this practice up front at least, but I have never heard of anyone being fined for it. Then, there is the burning route and my neighbor has a burn barrel....

But, I'd really just like to bag them. It's supposed to be another nice week. The problem, of course, is that I need to get more bags. Now, as I said in my previous post, I appreciate what the city is trying to do with the biodegradable bags and all, but they need to come up with a contingency plan for when the bags run out. Part of the problem is the very nature of the bags, which start to disintegrate within a year, so it is impossible to stock up on them. And they are fairly expensive, so you hate to buy too many and then find them biodegrading in your garage the next year. Because of the weather, predicting leaf volume is a very inexact science.

I jokingly (I think I was joking, sorry Joe) suggested we all take our leaves up to the mayor's front lawn. Maybe we could we could dress up like Indians or something.... but my wife insists it's not his fault. I am going to put a call (or e-mail) down to City Hall, however, and at least suggest they make some sort of public pronouncement and give people an idea of what they'd like them to do with their leaves; or at least give us some assurance that more bags will be in before next weekend. As I said before, I assume they have some sort of contract or contact with what is apparently the only company that manufactures the bags we're supposed to use.

Anyhow, in the greater scheme of things, this is probably a very small problem, but one that should be addressed at least, as, according to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, addressing small problems is a great way to start solving your larger problems. Gladwell specifically detailed how New York City started its turnaround by addressing graffiti in the subways. Letting people know you care about the little things seems to go a long way towards getting them to cooperate and help you fix the big things.

That's all.


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