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Bagging lawn clippings in plastic bags

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Roger, Dec 14, 2002.

  1. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    I'm a solo operator, working all residential properties. Some owners require bagging the clippings. Usually I need to haul away the clippings, take them to the dump (and pay for dumping). This is time consuming. However, a few will allow me to put their clippings in plastic bags, leaving them at the curb for their regular trash pickup.

    I've not found an efficient way to put clippings in plastic bags. I use a 33 gal trash barrel, line it with a 0.08" liner, secure the top with a bungee cord around the top of the barrel. I put about 25 gallons of clippings in the barrel/liner, pack tight with my foot, then tie off the top with a wire twist tie, turn the barrel upside down, shake out the filled plastic bag. I put a new plastic liner in the barrel and repeat the process. I have learned that making two "setups" achieves some overall time savings.

    There must be a quicker way to do this. To be sure, the extra time it takes is far quicker than putting the clippings into barrels, hauling away, then later hauling the clippings to the dump. However, I feel others may have a better way.

    Some thoughts:
    (1) Different bag holder; I've seen a bag holder made of 3/8" (?) rod that folds.
    (2) Use a 39 gallon plastic liner; gives generous unfilled top allowing the top to be tied off in a knot, forget about the twisties.

    Other ideas? Thanks,

  2. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Posts: 1,484

    the only time i bag is during leaf season, are u charging extra to bag? did u emphasize to them the disadvantages of bagging? if u insist on bagging can u dump into the back of your truck?
  3. MOOSE

    MOOSE LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    R U CRAZY..

    The one I bag is 8,000 sq ft. and I dump my metal grass gobblers in back of truck on tarp. I then make a weekly dump run with other stuff like shrub trimmings. If not too much I use dumpster at my mini storage.

    Bagging as in plastic or the paper one. NO!

  4. johnnyjay

    johnnyjay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Here is what I have done. First, I drilled 1/4 inch holes all around a 44 gal plastic trash can. I use 55 gal drum liners 2 Mil thick "Do It Best" brand. I fill the can then pull up the liner and it is only about half full. I continue to fill the bag then twist the top and wrap with duct tape. I lay the can on side and roll pulling the bag out of the can. Without the drilled holes in the can the suction would hold the bags in the can and you cannot pull it out. I take the bags back to my home and keep them until I get about 25 to 30 bags 40 to 50 lbs each then take to the dump in trailer. At the landfill I have to cut each bag open and empty because plastic bags cannot be put in the same area. I only bag in the spring when I am scalping yards and first time cut has lots of weeds and seeds and customer has no place to dump on property. I charge about $15 extra when I bag in this manner. I too would welcome an easier way to do this. It is very time consuming.
  5. rvsuper

    rvsuper Senior Member
    Posts: 930

    Put that grass back where it belongs! I usually side discharge or mulch, even though some customers require me to bag the clippings. It almost looks the same exact way as if it were bagged, and it is helping the lawn by putting nutrients back into the soil.
  6. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 489

    When we first started we would haul everything away. But now that dump charges are so expensive we always leave the debris either in the customer's cans or in bags. Most of the communities that we serve have special cans for recycling yard waste. Also, we have been experimenting with mulching the grass. Mulching is not the norm in southern California, but so far, the customers have not been concerned as the finished product looks like it was bagged. I believe that is because we are mulching with Exmark's mulching system which is truly awesome. However, we have not found a 21" mower that works well as a mulcher, so those yards that must be cut with the 21" mowers are always bagged. As a side not, I have noticed that the properties that are being mulched are staying green all season without fertilizer. These are customers that are not paying for fertilizer. I know that putting nitrogen back into the soil by mulching, but I must admit that I was skeptical at first until I saw the results first hand.

    By the way, our profit margins have increased considerably on those properties that are being mulched and we have not had to have any price increases as a result.
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    When I made my post, I should have been clearer. I did not want to rehearse the same old topic, to bag, or not to bag. Let me assure you, I hate bagging as much as all the rest, and resist requests. However, in the residential neighborhoods I work, most properties have part or all clippings bagged. Most homeowners that do their own mowing bag clippings, so expect a contractor to do likewise. I've converted some to mulching mode. I only have one that is all bagged, then only in heavy growth times. The others are bagged in the front, around the house only. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments regarding the nutritional value of the clippings, but the homeowners aren't easy to convince. If I refuse thier request, they will just move on, finding another who will honor their request.

    My interest here was to hear if anybody else has the same issue. Sure, if $$$ were no object, I would have different equipment and just dump into a dump body, take to the dump and pull the lever. Being a small operator, I must work with what resources I have.

    Thanks for the inputs here, and e-mail that I've received privately on the subject. Any other input would be appreciated.
  8. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 489


    Can you get large burlap tarps. We used to use burlap to haul everything to the dump. They do get heavy because of the added weight but that might be a option.

    Sorry to have gone off topic in the last post.
  9. polecat63

    polecat63 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,655

    The earlier post about the can with holes in it is the best that I've used. I too have clients that insist on bagging, but I insist that they are responsible for disposal. I have had none turn me down on that respect. If your clients insist that you bag and dump then you must insist they pay you for that service. I charge disposal, labor and equipment (truck, trailer) when I have to dump. Otherwise you work for free.
  10. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,981

    Drop the customers there obvesly not worth the time! :angry:

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