Every year, I bag up mountains of leaves in the fall and put them out for pickup. All my neighbors do the same. I can only imagine how many leaves get picked up every year throughout the valley. I know that stuff gets recycled somehow, but can they really recycle that much debris? What happens to all those leaves?
— Robert S., Medford
All those leaves eventually are returned to your neighbors, Robert. It's basically an amazing recycling effort that will make you whistle a tune every time you rake up your leaves.
Every fall, Rogue Disposal and Recycling picks up about 1,000 tons of leaves in a two-month period in Medford, Central Point and Phoenix.
After collecting the leaves, Rogue Disposal grinds them into small pieces then lets the leaf remnants cure for 18 months. For the first 15 days of that period, the leaves undergo a process that heats them up to 140 to 150 degrees to kill seeds, pathogens and any other unwanted substances.
"At the end, we have a beautiful, dark, rich compost," said Denise Barnes, recycling coordinator for Rogue Disposal.
Because of testing on the leaves, the compost is considered suitable for organic gardens, she said.
If you go to Rogue Disposal in White City, a 40-pound bag of the fine-screened compost is available for $3.99, which is quite a deal.
You also can buy it by the yard at $28, which is useful for top dressing or seed starter for lawns. A medium-screened product is available for $20 a yard.
Now, you just need a friend with a truck to go get it for you, Robert.