Guest Column: Burning ban: consider the residents

Guest Column: Burning ban: consider the residents

By Don and Jean Elge

The following is an open letter to Winnebago County Board members and specifically, the burning ban committee members.

We live in unincorporated Winnebago County, and we seem to remember that last fall, the county board said it wouldn’t pass the burning ban without coming up with a viable alternative. Then you disregarded your own words and passed it anyway! No public vote, no alternatives, and no idea of the financial burden put on county residents.

Mulching is fine for grass clippings, but did you know that in order for the mulching kit to do its job, it must be done twice a week? Most county residents that we’ve talked to have been doing that for years anyway, in the summer months. Grass clippings are not the problem. But add five to seven inches of leaves in the fall, and mulching is no longer an option.

Composting is not an option, either. The sheer volume of leaves that fall from our huge oaks (and our neighbor’s maple that dumps its leaves in our yard) would fill a dumpster … twice!

For us, neither mulching nor composting are viable alternatives, and I finally accepted that we’ll have to hire someone to haul the leaves away. To do that, we would have to change garbage companies. Our present service, Waste Management, doesn’t take yard waste at all. So I called Rock River Disposal and was told that they do take yard waste, but only for city residents, free of charge! They won’t pick up in the county, not even for a fee. Then I called Onyx Waste Services, who said we would have to hire them for regular garbage service, which is more than we pay now, and then they would take yard waste, for a fee. A big fee! In addition, each yard waste bag must have a $2 sticker on it. In the fall, we would have 20 bags per week!

If you won’t rescind this ordinance, at least give county residents the same consideration that Rockford and Loves Park give their residents. Both pick up yard waste free of charge.

Don and Jean Eige are residents of Winnebago County.

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