Yonkers is Saving Green By Going Green

Instead of collecting leaves from the 44 city parks and hauling them to compost yards, city DPW/Parks crews will now be mulching fallen foliage in place and leaving the remnants behind as part of the “Love 'Em and Leave 'Em” initiative.

The program will help reduce the city’s annual $650,000 in 'tipping fees' while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and turning leaves and grass clippings into nutrient-rich, natural fertilizing material for the Parks. Officials estimate that city crews and landscapers deposit 35,000 tons of leaves and grass clippings at the city’s Organic Yard every year. Shredding leaves on site in the Fall (and leaving grass clippings where cut) can save the city money on both the per-ton County yard waste 'tipping fees' and on the associated cost of packing leaves into trucks to be shipped out of the county for disposal/composting.

Mayor Mike Spano announces the adoption of leaf-mulching practices in 44 city parks. 
"With tight budgets and high labor and materials costs, adopting leaf mulching-in-place and grass-cycling practices in Yonkers makes a lot of sense,” said Mayor Mike Spano.

“This is a perfect example of how being green does not cost money,” Department of Public Works Commissioner Thomas Meier said. 

“Here we have something that has a measurable impact on the environment and quality of life but is also something that saves money,” said Brad Tito, the city’s Director of Sustainability.

Tim Downey, owner of Aesthetic Landscape Care Inc., shows city officials how leaf mulching works. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman / Yonkers Daily Voice
With a little practice, many homeowners will find that mulching leaves in place is easier than raking, bagging, or blowing them to the curb, said Tim Downey, owner of Aesthetic Landscape Care Inc., who is training city crews in the art of leaf mulching. “Once you get the knack of it, you’re going to say to yourself, ‘Why wasn’t I doing it this way before?’"

Scott Delalma, an environmental maintenance worker with the Yonkers Parks/DPW, operates a mulching mower at Grant Park in Yonkers. Photo Credit: Matthew Brown / The Journal News

City officials encouraged residents to follow their lead and mulch their own leaves.

For residents who choose to bag their leaves, the Department of Public Works will continue to pick up leaves every Wednesday in the Fall. On these days, city trucks will pick up recycling and return for leaves placed in paper bags or open containers.

Download the Press Release (.pdf).

Read the full Yonkers Daily Voice article here.

Read the front page article from the Oct 4, 2013 Journal News (LOHUD.com) - "Mow leaves instead of raking this fall, communities urge".

Mow leaves instead of raking them: Local communities are encouraging homeowners and landscapers to stop raking leaves to the curb and instead mow them and leave them on the lawn as a fine mulch. (Video by Joe Larese / The Journal News.)

Click  image to view video in new window.

Read the related "how to" article from Oct 4, 2013 Journal News (LOHUD.com) - "Do it yourself: Homeowners can mulch leaves".

Join the Yonkers LELE Initiative!

Help reduce the $650,000 cost of trucking away Fall Leaves! 

Support leaf-mulching-in-place because it returns valuable nutrients to the soil and it’s good for the environment.

For a healthy lawn & healthy planet, mulch 'em yourself or ask your landscaper to begin to "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em!"

Just print this letter and hand it to your landscaper. Here is a Spanish translation of the letter.

To see a live demonstration and to learn more about leaf-mulching techniques, ask your landscaper to please consider attending a training workshop this fall. The workshops will be FREE and will be led by experienced landscape professionals who have been successfully leaf-mulching for years. The LELENY EVENTS page will list all training events scheduled for 2014.

New!  LELE Flyer with a message from Mayor Mike Spano.

Homeowner Survey - We Want to Hear From You!

Whether you currently practice leaf mulching or you have never even heard of it, your participation in our survey is very important. The goal is to collect some basic information about landscaping practices and to better understand the impact of our LELE outreach efforts so that the City of Yonkers can better meet the needs of residents.

Our LELE homeowner survey will only take a few minutes to complete. It is entirely confidential. We will never use your specific information without your permission. 

 Thank you for your participation.

Like us on Facebook

Keep updated on any new events or promotions so you can take full advantage of the 'Love 'Em and Leave 'Em' Program.

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LELEYonkers

Landscaper Testimonial

Tim Downey
Aesthetic Landscape Care, Inc.
“Over the past ten years, I evolved my business practices whereby I remove virtually no leaves from my clients’ properties in the autumn. My net has increased, my costs declined, and my clients receive better value for their fee. The properties look better and are healthier. It’s a win/win all the way around.”

Yonkers, New Rochelle Receive Joint Grant for Leaf Mulching

The City of  Yonkers and the City of New Rochelle were awarded a grant from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities to support a joint project to create a training, marketing, and policy campaign for on-site leaf mulching. This grant was matched by the Westchester Community Foundation, as well.
“The Westchester Community Foundation is pleased to partner with the cities of Yonkers and New Rochelle in support of ‘Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em.’,” said Catherine Marsh, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We commend Mayor Spano and Mayor Bramson for their leadership in jointly promoting this low-cost and innovative “green” program that reduces waste while saving homeowners and municipalities money.”
Read the article from the Journal News - "Yonkers, New Rochelle get $25K each to mulch leaves onsite" (.pdf)

Read the article from Newsday - "Yonkers, New Rochelle get grant to promote leaf mulching" (.pdf)

Read the article from the Yonkers Daily Voice - "Yonkers Gets Money For Leaf Mulching" (.pdf)

Read the New Rochelle press release (.pdf).
For more information about the Yonker's Love 'Em and Leave 'Em initiative, please contact:

Brad Tito
Director of Sustainability
City of Yonkers
(914) 377-6547