CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This time of the year, raking leaves becomes part of your weekend plans as a homeowner. Getting rid of those leaves in Charlotte means bagging them one after another and placing them on the curb for pick up. Well, one Charlotte man decided there had to be a better way, and now his invention is taking off as the city has now banned the use of plastic bags.
It all started when Marc Mataya was late getting his leaves out to the curb on pick-up day.
He ran out of plastic bags and quickly found a tarp that was brown on one side and he placed all his leaves in the tarp and folded it over.
It looked like a giant burrito he thought.
So he dragged the folded-up "burrito" out to the curb just as the yard waste collecting truck was coming down the street. He watched as the men tore open each plastic bag of his neighbors and throw the bag away. It took a long time for the truck to reach his house.
When they did he asked if this was okay and the two men picked it up and dumped it. They told him this was actually easier than doing the bags.
This sparked the idea of the leaf burrito.
Mataya came up with prototypes until he perfected the current model, which has tear-resistant materials and unbreakable zippers. The material is both breathable and transparent enough that you can see what's inside the burrito -- which makes it safe for the yard waste collection.
The city of Charlotte told him they would gladly accept the 5-foot version of his burrito since it could easily be picked up by one person and dumped into the truck.
Now with the recent city ban on plastic yard waste bags this summer, his invention has become the most climate and environmentally friendly alternative.
Even though plastic is now banned in place of brown compostable leaf bags or reusable containers like the leaf burrito, the brown paper bags still have a huge carbon footprint because of their manufacturing and shipping process. Plus with a reusable container like the leaf burrito, you don't have to keep buying more bags.
The success of the leaf burrito has now spawned numerous other products for sports, camping, and boating -- all of which are locally made right in Charlotte off of Scaleybark and South Blvd.