Your Leaves: Love 'Em & Leave 'Em

LELE Overview

Fall leaves are a valuable resource that most homeowners let go to waste by having them blown into piles on the street, or raked into brown landscaping bags stacked curb-side, left for eventual town pickup. Leaf collection, hauling, and disposal is a huge annual cost to every municipality in our tree-lovely county! Too often these curbside leaf piles spread out in the roadway, or the bags tip over, washing leaves into the street, clogging storm drains and making roads dangerous for driving. Additional cost is thus incurred because these storm drains must be cleared to avoid flooding. Worst than this, as leaves sit on our streets, excess nutrients (natural "compost fertilizer" with phosphates and nitrogen) run off the decaying piles into storm drains and thence into our rivers.

As a homeowner, are there options? Is there a better way? Whether you pay a lawn care service or do it yourself, the easy and cost-saving answer is: Leave 'em in place! Watch this short video to see just how simple it is to mulch-in-place.

Shredding your leaves where they are on the lawn, using shredded leaves as a winter mulch on landscape beds, collecting shredded leaves into compost piles, or simply leaving your leaves under the trees in wooded areas are all examples of using nature's own method of turning old leaves into new soil.

Remember, in these stressful economic times, the "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" Initiative is not only "green", it just makes Cents!

For more information, please read the additional pages in this section titled "Composting",

"Mulching-in-place", and Landscapers Info.

Short YouTube Video Demonstration of Leaf Mulching Techniques for Professionals.

LELE Website

LELE Recycle Logo

The LELE initiative is growing - we've expanded beyond our local roots in Irvington!

2013 update: A grant was awarded to the City of New Rochelle and the City of Yonkers, in conjunction with Greenburgh Nature Center and SWEAC (Southern Westchester Energy Action Coalition), to provide extensive public outreach and training for landscapers and homeowners in these municipalities. The grant also funded the ongoing update and operation of the leaf and grass mulching initiative's informational website

2012 update: Thanks to Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky and the Westchester County Board of Legislators for their help in securing a contract to Greenburgh Nature Center for the purpose of promoting on-site leaf/grass mulching county-wide. The 2012 program included “how to” trainings in various municipalities around the county, on-site landscaper consultations, and an informative website ( with a social media outreach component, video demos, and an updated public domain resource “toolkit.”

Note: this old LELE homepage will be occasionally updated. But to see the latest information, "how to" techniques, event listings, etc. please go to

Four adults holding up a certificate


FCWC 2013 Green Seal Award

On June 13, 2013, the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County (FCWC) presented its Green Seal Award to the Irvington Green Policy Task Force. The GPTF was recognized for the development and promotion of the Love 'Em and Leave 'Emprogram that encourages mulching leaves in place. Initiated in Irvington, the Irvington Green Policy Task Force has helped to spread the Love 'Em and Leave 'Em program to other municipalities throughout the County.
 (FCWC Awards. From left to right: Nikki Coddington, Anne Jaffe-Holmes, MJ Wilson, and Chuck Lesnick.)

Earth Day 2012

On Earth Day 2012, the County presented waste reduction recycling awards to the leaf mulching initiatives in Irvington (LELE), Bedford (Leave Leaves Alone) and Hastings. Read the official Press Release from the Earth Day awards event. As of Fall 2012, over 23 municipalities in the County now endorse and/or implement LELE programs for residents and DPW/Parks departments.

BOT Adopts LELE Resolution

On 9/26/11, The Irvington Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a leaf mulching resolution in support of the Love 'Em and Leave 'Em initiative. Download the PDF of the full resolution.

Upcoming Training Events for Landscapers

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

"It's Green and It Makes Cents!"

If you use a landscape maintenance company, your landscaper may require some initial instruction in these greener practices, as well as needing a simple, low cost conversion of mowers to perform efficient mulch mowing. But once done, you'll both see an improvement in your topsoil, turf and plantings.

We encourage all homeowners, property managers, landscapers, local municipal officials, and DPW & Parks staff to check out the valuable research information, "how to" videos, questions & answers, program resources, and calendar of training events, available on the website.

Take part in a series of free trainings for:

  • homeowners
  • municipal DPWs
  • parks staff
  • school grounds maintenance staff
  • conservation advisory committees/boards
  • landscape & lawn care contractors

For current schedule of events, go to the LELE initiative's website.

To pre-register or for more info: call Anne Jaffe Holmes (914) 813-1251 or for more information or to discuss scheduling a training event in your community, email Anne Jaffe Holmes.

Press Coverage of LELE

Read an article and editorial from the Rivertown Enterprise on LELE initiative (PDF)

Read the LOHUD article on the "Leave Leaves Alone" mulching-in-place initiative started in Bedford (PDF)

Testimonial ads run in Rivertown Enterprise (Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4 issues) can be found on the LELE Toolkit page .