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New Rochelle Goes Green with "Love 'Em Or Leave 'Em"

Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em is New Rochelle’s new plan to help homeowners Go Green this summer.

 Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em is a mulch program that encourages homeowners and businesses to mulch their lawns in an attempt to reduce the amount of waste. It was put into practice when leaf and yard refuse collection began in April.

 The goal is to re-distribute valuable resources back into the soil, while reducing the amount of waste that is collected by the DPW. Public Works Commissioner Alex Tergis expanded on this, stating the benefits of LELE as follows:

·         Helps keep taxes down by reducing municipal leaf pickup and disposal.

·         Less Waste: Leaf piles on streets cause unsafe driving conditions, clog storm drains, and leach phosphorus into river.

·         Keeps your property healthy: Leaf mulch recycles nutrients into your soil to feed your plants, improves soil health, and helps retain moisture, reducing the need for watering in dry spells.

 Funding for the program came in the form of a grant from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, which was then matched by the Westchester Community Foundation.

 Laura Rossi, a program officer at the Westchester Community Foundation, said in addition to voluntary participation by residents, the city and the school district would also be putting the program into practice.

 "It is good for soil and lawns, as well as the environment," she said.

 “Plus, after storms, the city's crews need to be out cleaning up tree limbs and other debris. Freeing them for that work "can only be a plus," she said.

 The official website http://www.leleny.org/ lists the benefits of mulching for homeowners as:

·         You'll have a greener lawn because as leaf mulch breaks down it naturally fertilizes the soil.

·         You'll have a healthier lawn because leaf mulch improves soil structure and soil biology.

·         It also helps improve drainage and water retention.

·         "Free" mulch protects and enhances your landscape beds.

·         Grass-cycling provides similar benefits for lawn fertilization and soil health.

 For homeowners that are interested in DIY mulching, the College of New Rochelle recommends mowing the leaves, then going over the area 2-3 more times to get a finer chop in order to ensure they will deteriorate into the soil easier. Leaf mulching demonstrations are being organized and the schedule will be posted to the Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em resource site http://newrochelle.leleny.org"

 Rossi has high hopes that the program will be able to get a foothold in the New Rochelle community.

 “It’s like recycling or not using plastic bags, the more people start doing it, the more people try it, the more people who become comfortable with it, the more the practice will spread. It will also encourage people to become more mindful of their impact on the environment.” she said. 

 For more information on the program and how to get started on your own mulching project, follow this link to the FAQ.

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