Autumn In Pennsauken: Preparing For Leaf Collection

By Joe Scavuzzo, Director, Department of Public Works

I hope everybody is recovering from the humid start that September had. Those that wished for summer to continue had their wishes granted, with temperatures in the mid 90’s and humidity levels high. If you’re like me, I look forward to the cooler temperatures this new season offers with a coffee or glass of wine on the front porch after dinner.

This brings us into our next season: leaf collection. Leaf collection operations generally begin in late October and are completed around the end of December. Every section of town will have leaf pickup at least twice during this time. This is, in addition to the weekly Wednesday “yard debris” pick-up, when Waste Management will pick-up your bagged/bundled items. We ask for your patience while we are working in your neighborhood, as our large equipment could end up blocking parts of the street or intersection.

It is highly encouraged that you bag your leaves whenever possible. However, there are parts of town, Collins Tract, Iron Rock, and even Bloomfield, where the density of large, mature trees creates mountains of leaves. The main reason we encourage residents to bag leaves is to protect our storm water inlets along our streets from becoming clogged, preventing the flow of water from the street into the system. In addition to this, any cool fall breezes that come through won’t blow that leaf pile back onto your lawn or all over the street. The bagged leaves that are collected by Waste Management on Wednesdays are taken to Smith Orchards in Mantua for recycling. Each year, the Township compiles a tonnage report on yard debris, similar to the white goods collected and our annual recycling collection, and receives credits towards our recycling grant.

Leaf Composting

Many of you may or may not be aware of what happens to those mountains of leaves that our department collects. Pennsauken’s Department of Public Works operates and maintains one of the best functioning and best kept leaf composting sites in New Jersey. I have had three interactions with representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection at the state and county levels; they all commented on how great the site looks in comparison to others they inspect.

After the compost matures, it is delivered to the Municipal Pool on River Rd., where residents can supplement their gardens at home with this nutritious soil. The compost site is located on Park Ave., resting beside the Pennsauken Creek before you cross the Burlington County line. Currently, you will view an open piece of land. Within the next month, you will begin to see the collected leaves being formed into rows, called “windrows.” Once our facility is nearing its 10,000 cubic yard capacity, you’ll notice the windrows are pointed in a specific direction. The windrow field is sloped downward to allow water to collect at a basin. This prevents the possibility of stagnant water, which could breed mosquitoes and an unpleasant odor.

A few of you may have your own composting methods at home for the reuse of food scraps and yard debris. Although our facility only handles leaves, the process is very much the same, just on a much larger scale.

I hope you enjoy the change of the seasons. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach us at (856) 663-0178 or e-mail at

Translate »