City Of Norwich Giving Out Free Paper Leaf Bags
Published: October 24th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

City of Norwich giving out free paper leaf bags City of Norwich residents can stop by City Hall beginning Friday, October 21 to pick up free paper leaf bags, an eco-friendly option for discarding fallen leaves. Bags are limited to five per household and will be given on a first come, first served basis. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — The City of Norwich is giving away five free paper leaf bags per household beginning Friday, October 21 as a way to encourage city residents to switch to more eco-friendly options when disposing of fallen leaves.

“A number of communities mandate them; We thought it best to do a voluntary idea,” said City of Norwich Mayor Brian Doliver. “We like to encourage the paper leaf bags for two reasons: they are biodegradable, environmentally friendly. And the employees don’t have to open up the plastic bags anymore, it can all just go in the landfill together. The paper is biodegradable.”

The city received the bags as a donation from Cornell Cooperative Extension, through the Norwich Curtis Lumber store. Supplies are limited, so bags will be supplied on a first come, first served basis.

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To receive free paper leaf bags, visit the Norwich City Hall, located at One City Plaza in Norwich, and stop by the front desk. Doliver said names and addresses will be taken to ensure households don’t go over the five-bag limit.

After leaves are collected and put in the paper bags, residents can simply put them out on their curb to be collected by the city. It is estimated that yard waste pickup in the City of Norwich will begin in November.

“That’s part of a service the city provides. We always pick up bagged leaves that are on the front curb. So what you would do regularly is you put it in a bag and put it on the curb. If people wish to use plastic that’s fine, but we’re encouraging the paper. It’s a whole lot easier to use paper,” Doliver explained.

Updates on yard waste pickup dates and guidelines can be found on the City of Norwich, New York Facebook page.

Doliver said the city is looking to get more paper bag donations in the future, to be able to provide even more households with an environmentally friendly option each fall.

“The hope is that we all go paper eventually,” said Doliver. “ We felt it best to do it on a voluntary basis, and in order to do voluntary we felt it was important to try to receive donations, to give them out for free as people start to get the idea. That way we can start to go in that direction.”

The initiative is being spearheaded by the City of Norwich Street Tree Committee, which just completed their annual street tree planting on Friday, October 14.

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According to Doliver, 25 trees were planted on city streets and along the track in Weiler Park by approximately 12 volunteers. The additional trees not only beautify the city, but also provide valuable flood mitigation support, as the trees soak up excess water and release it back into the soil slowly.

“There’s a lot of good things. There’s the other side of trees, but you know, if you choose the proper type of trees and maintain them then it’ll work out better. In the past some trees have been planted that maybe they shouldn’t have been planted, but we’re trying to be a little smarter in how we do our planting in the future,” said Doliver.

There are approximately 1,200 street trees in the City of Norwich, and more are usually planted every year in the spring, fall, or both on residential properties between the sidewalk and the road. 

According to Doliver, residents are given the choice to have a tree planted on their property, and if so, they are allowed to select the type of tree they would like.

“People can choose a tree, within reason, the tree they want. We plant them for them, the city maintains them,” he explained. “So they’re really a city tree, but we let the homeowner decide, A, if they want one, and B, what kind they would like. Within reason. If you want an oak tree right underneath power wires or something they might say no.”

City of Norwich residents with questions about street trees can contact Deputy City Clerk Agnes Eaton at 607-334-1201 for more information.