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Disposable leaf bags can't all be certified

I called Rogue Disposal about the 30-gallon paper leaf bags advertised in Black Bird's ad, and they said you would still have to dump them out if taken to the transfer station. I thought that was the whole reason to use them versus plastic? I would not try to use them otherwise, because they would fall apart by the time you got them there.

— Scott Merman, Medford

It does sound like a big inconvenience, Scott. But there are some reasons why Rogue Disposal requires you to dump out the leaves.

Garry Penning, spokesman for Rogue Disposal, said the leaf material becomes part of an organic certified product. It would be time-consuming for workers to determine whether each bag brought in meets the organic certification, he said.

"We have to be sure," he said. "A worker would have no idea. They'd have to read the label and look it up."

Another reason why Rogue Disposal requires you to dump the leaves out of the bag is to prevent someone from sneaking garbage into the mix, which would contaminate the organic leafy matter.

"We'd rather be safe than sorry," Penning said.

By the way, Rogue Disposal will soon start its leaf program, where it picks up bags curbside.

When the bags are brought in, people from the Community Justice program dump out the bags to make sure they contain only leafy matter.

Any way you slice it, Scott, the leaves are dumped out of the bag to make sure the organic certification is retained.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.