Dyno Dirt making

A front loader turns compost made near Denton's Pecan Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in this 2006 photo. Denton home and business owners will need to opt into yard waste collection with the start of the city’s new fiscal year in October.

Heads up, Denton. Come fall and just in time for those big, happy piles of leaves, the city is changing how it collects yard waste.

Denton home and business owners will need to opt into yard waste collection with the start of the city’s new fiscal year in October.

Currently, crews drive the same scheduled routes as garbage and recycling trucks, on the hunt for piles of branches or bags of leaves and grass clippings left on the curb. But because so many families set out their yard waste intermittently, collection has been inefficient.

City leaders have been talking about the problem since a consultant reviewed solid waste department operations and recommended major changes two years ago.

The City Council was briefed this week on upcoming changes. Solid waste director Brian Boerner said they have placed an initial order for carts for customers who want to opt in for that service.

Home and business owners will have two choices for opting in: cart service or bag service.

Cart service will be billed at 50 cents per month, although homeowners will have to pony up $20 for the cart — a one-time charge.

The carts should help those customers looking to gather up grass clippings and raked leaves for hauling neatly and easily to the curb.

Come October, the city won’t pick up yard waste packed into plastic trash bags anymore. Because the yard waste is headed to the city’s composting program, workers must open and empty the bags into the trucks. In addition to creating excess waste, the task has given some employees repetitive motion injuries, Boerner said.

Cost-conscious customers can skip the cart service if they pack their yard waste in compostable paper bags, which the city calls “kraft bag” service. Several area retailers sell these heavy-duty bags, which hold about as much as a standard garbage can and are freestanding when unfolded.

The bags cost $1 to $2 each at stores, and the city will bill $1 per month for the pickup service.

In addition, while the service is billed monthly, cost-conscious customers don’t have to sign up for the service every month. They can opt in and opt out again, Boerner said.

Homes and business owners don’t have to enroll in yard waste service for brush pickup (tree limbs, etc.). That’s still included in your monthly service rate, Boerner said.

“Just call it in,” Boerner said.

In other words, just like bulky and hazardous waste pickup, call a few days ahead of your regular pickup so that your address can be added to the crew’s route.

The limit for brush pickups remains at 4 cubic yards — about the same space as a row of four washing machines at the laundromat.

If you have more than 4 cubic yards of brush, be prepared to pay for how long the job takes. The city will bill in 15-minute increments at $18.75 each.

Customers can watch for more information with their utility bill on how to opt in to the yard waste collection program in the coming weeks.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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