What happens to the leaves after they’re picked up?

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:03 PM CST
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WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) - As we near the end of fall it means leaves are all over the place throughout many of our neighborhoods.

Crews are hard at work picking up those leaves, but their efforts are not just for cleaning up. The leaves are picked up and taken to a trash dump site where it’s eventually turned into dirt and used for the roadways.

The process is seamless for what municipalities like the Village of Weston do to pick up leaves which are taken to the old municipal site and dumped into the backyard.

“We take them to our recycling spot on Ryan Street where we stack it up and make it into rolls of compost to break down for topsoil,” said Forrest Blarek, crew leader for the Village of Weston.

That topsoil is then sold to contractors or it can also go toward use around the village. Blarek said it keeps them pretty busy this time of year. They use two machines that each pick up 200 yards of leaves each day. He also cautions people to not put just anything out for leaf pickup because it can potentially jam the machine. It’s important that people remove sticks and other objects from their leaf pile.

“To go along with these, it’s kind of nice when the people have their sticks removed from the pile so they don’t get lodged in the tube which causes a lot of downtime if we suck one into the tube,” Blarek said.

Blarek said weather can play a factor because if it rains, it can cause delays in the time it takes to pickup leaves. It also saves a lot of time and money to convert leaves into compost.