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Yard waste bags not as strong as you might think (con't)

In’s experience two bags filled with leaves had the bottoms fall out when moved from a dry storage area to the street for curbside pick-up. 

The leaves were in the bags for under two weeks and curbside pickup is every second week.

That’s something that should not happen and is rare, said Anne Marie Albidone, environmental services manager for the City of Windsor.

“That’s surprising to be honest because they’re supposed to last much longer than that,” she said.

Albidone granted the bags aren’t 100 per cent break proof and under certain conditions can fall apart.

One is having them stored for a long period of time with damp yard waste. Another is putting grass in the bags because grass has a high moisture content.

“Grass is very very moist so it tends to disintegrate the bag - the paper - quite quickly and easily,” she said.

The city doesn’t pick up grass in the summer anyway.

“We certainly encourage grass recycling, it’s better for your lawn anyway,” she said.

So if people are worried about storing them for an extended period of time they can always take them to the main recycling centre open six days a week, located off of Central Ave.

The bags are supposed to be strong enough even to leave them out in the rain.

The City of Toronto’s environmental services website says yard waste bags “were tested and found to be fine during rainy conditions thanks to the bags' protective wet-strength coating that resists water absorption…”

One caveat is not to leave them out in prolonged snowy conditions.

That’s because the bags “stick to the ground and are liable to rip apart when crews try moving them to the collection trucks,” the website says.

“Better to not overpack each bag, keep them in a dry place, and set them out early on the morning of your collection day.”

That’s what in fact did but the bags still didn’t stand up, with obvious moisture in the leaves rotting the underside of the bags.

Cam Wright, waste diversion manager for the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority, said “we have not had this complaint previously.”

He said another option is to use cardboard boxes. Albidone also said available hard shelled garbage containers can be an option.

A representative from the industry that promotes the use of paper bags, Paper Bags Canada, did not respond to a request for comment.

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