Not mulching leaves or grass-cycling on-site? You’re wasting time & money!

Reduce your annual cost for fall leaf collection/handling by shredding leaves on-site and retaining this valuable resource as mulch. Adding grass-cycling provides a full three-season approach to turf management for parks and public spaces.

Many local landscapers and municipalities are already saving money, time and energy through these simple on-site grass & leaf retention methods. Join the list of municipalities who have adopted LELE practices and/or passed resolutions of support for this initiative (.pdf file).

If your municipality has already adopted LELE practices, please drop us a note so we can update this list.

Who should be paying attention to this initiative?

  • VIllage Boards, Town & City Councils, Supervisors, and Administrators
  • Municipal DPWs & Parks staff
  • School district grounds maintenance staff
  • Conservation Advisory Committees / Environmental Boards, Sustainability Committees
  • Corporations, condos, churches (and other larger property owners)
  • Taxpayers and budget oversight committees

Watch this short video with Chris DePaoli, Foreman of Irvington Parks Department as he talks about why LELE makes sense for any municipality:

"It's Green and It Makes Cents!"

With tight budgets and high labor and materials costs, adopting leaf mulching-in-place and grass-cycling practices makes a lot of sense. Equipment upgrade costs are minimal. Training is available for free (Contact us to discuss scheduling an event or consultation.) The techniques are simple to learn.

Perhaps the most difficult piece of the practice is to develop adequate METRICS to track the savings (reduction in yard waste tipping fees, labor overtime, fuel & transportation costs, specialized equipment purchase and maintenance, for example) that can accrue at the municipal level. Potential savings estimates range from $100k to $750k at a municipal level, depending upon the municipality. Read details at this FAQ.

During the Fall season (Oct-Dec), over 90% of all organic yard waste handled in the County is leaves. Over 60,000 tons of leaves! During the Summer months (May-Sept), 50% of yard waste is grass clippings. Over 38,000 tons. Removal of such yard waste from the County's waste stream could reduce total tonnage processed and transported out of the county by half! That's potentially a $4 Million savings.*
*Estimates supplied by the Westchester County DEF (Department of Environmental Facilities) based upon metrics gathered during 2010. See details in this report on Organic Waste Transfer.

Read what the EfficientGov website has to say on its blog about the LELE Initiative and leaf mulching. "Westchester Leaf Removal Program Saves $3.5M"

leaf mulching in action - riding a mulching mower in the park
LELE helps reduce labor required to maintain parks.

On-site leaf mulching results in environmental and economic benefits!

  • Reduction in the labor and materials costs for fall leaf collection and disposal.
  • Reduction of the traffic hazard caused by piles of leaves in roadway.
  • Reduction of localized flood risk resulting from clogged storm drains.
  • Reduction in the costs to clear clogged storm drains.
  • Reduced phosphate runoff into our waterbodies.
  • Reduced noise and air pollution from leaf blowers.
  • Improved quality and health of turf in parks and public spaces.
  • Improved resiliency of landscape plantings.
  • Virtually free, high-quality, mulch for lawns, gardens and planting areas.
  • Grass-cycling provides many of the same benefits for turf health and soil enhancement.
Note: benefits paraphrased from the Village of Scarsdale website.

Three Easy Steps to Begin LELE Now

  1. Pass a municipal resolution or corporate statement of support for LELE. (Download a sample resolution from Irvington or Scarsdale.)
  2. Select a park or municipal property to run a "demo" evaluation in this season. See the difference next Spring!
  3. Make use of the materials in our LELE toolkit including "how to" demos, letters, signage. Contact us for availability of training and on-site consultations.
Refer to our Landscaper page and our FAQs for more "how to" LELE information.

What Are Other Municipalities Saying?

Here are a few links to postings related to adopting the LELE Initiative:

Did You Know That LELE Training and Outreach May Be Applied to Your Annual NYS MS4 Reporting Requirements?

MCM 1 - Targeted Public Education and Outreach Best Management Practices
  • printed materials (bookmarks, bilingual "how to" cards, yard signs)
  • public training events
  • video of events (including Board/Council presentations)
  • municipal listserv "eblasts" on LELE (techniques, website, and local training programs)
  • municipal website page on LELE and link to LELENY.ORG

MCM2 - Public Involvement / Participation
  • neighborhood training events, hands-on demos, Q&A
  • neighborhood LELE cleanup days.

MCM 6 - Stormwater Management for Municipal Operations
  • catch basin cleanout (reduction in required cleanouts)
  • fertilizer applications (reduction in required applications)
  • municipal staff training (on-site LELE consultations for DPW & Parks staff.)

NYS DEC Grant Funds Available For LELE Programs:

Expenses incurred for local LELE initiatives (i.e., printing, postage) should be eligible for 50% reimbursement by the state, being that this is a waste reduction/recycling educational outreach effort.

A pre-application for the expenses with estimated costs must first be filed, and then you'll have to wait until DEC requests you file your full municipal application.

For more information, refer to this NYSDEC webpage on State Assistance Programs for Waste Reduction, Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste Programs. Or contact your DEC Regional office.

Here's a sample of some of the educational outreach materials available in our LELENY Toolkit for your use:

See our LELE Toolkit for both printer-ready and "source" files (allowing edit/modification or co-branding). Toolkit materials include program logo, yard signs, informational letters, PSA videos, bi-lingual "How To" cards (and more!) that will prove useful for your LELE public education and outreach.