Eugene’s leaf collection program is a stormwater-funded activity that has been available to Eugene citizens since the late 1960s. The program goals are to prevent localized street flooding caused by leaves clogging gutters, catch basins and storm drains, and to protect water quality by removing leaves that otherwise would decay in waterways and lower oxygen levels in aquatic habitats.
Public Works crews collect leaves in every Eugene neighborhood twice between November and January. The city is divided into zones, allowing the leaf collection crews to move through the city an orderly fashion. Once the leaves have been picked up, street sweepers follow the leaf collection crews to ensure that the drainage system remains free of small debris particles.
Total Collection Amount
Crews collect about 17,700 cubic yards of leaves each year. Of that total, about 8,000 cubic yards are delivered to residents to be used as mulch and compost material, 7,000 cubic yards go to community gardens, and the rest goes to commercial recyclers or are composted and used on City parkland. All the leaves picked up by Public Works crews are recycled and no leaves are taken to the landfill.