Yard waste includes organic matter like sticks, leaves, grass clippings, brush, tree prunings, and pulled weeds. The start of warm weather and after big storms are two times you may end up with large piles of debris.
While it feels good to have a tidy lawn, it leaves you with a problem: where to get rid of yard waste. If you want to dispose of yard waste for free, we’ve rounded up seven of the best options.
Haul it to Your City’s Free Collection Site
Many municipalities have free organic collection sites that accept all types of yard waste. You can haul in your debris during operating hours. To find a location near you, visit your municipality’s community action or waste collection website.
Participate in Yard Waste Collection Days
If you live in an urban area, your city will host yard waste collection days – often once per month or a few times per year. During collection events, you can put your yard waste in a biodegradable bag and set it on the curb.
Reference your city’s website for yard waste collection days.
Turn Yard Waste Into Mulch
If you have large piles of yard waste, consider turning it into mulch. You can rent a wood chipper for a few hundred dollars for a full day or borrow one from a friend. While the cost of renting won’t pan out for small amounts of yard debris, it could be worth it if you have numerous fallen trees.
Use your DIY mulch for flower beds and gardens – it will save you from purchasing mulch from a retailer.
Use it to Fill Raised Garden Beds
Yard waste is the perfect material to place at the bottom of raised garden beds. Fill empty beds with as many small twigs and leaves as possible. Doing so will lessen the amount of topsoil you need to use.
Dump it in Your Woods
If you live in a wooded lot, dump your yard waste in the woods. If you don’t have a wooded area, ask friends and family who do. Most won’t mind you dropping off a small amount of grass clippings and sticks.
Pile your yard waste and use it for a bonfire. Burning yard debris is a cheap and easy way to eliminate it. Check local guidelines first, as some localities have “no burn” laws at certain times of the year.
Leave Your Grass Clippings on the Lawn
One of the best ways to get rid of yard waste? Reduce the amount you produce. Unless your yard is overgrown or you have diseased grass, there’s no reason to collect your lawn clippings. Leaving the clippings on the lawn is the original way to reduce waste piles.
Compost Non-Wood Yard Waste
Convert fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds, and pulled plants into compost. According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, you can compost yard waste by placing alternating layers of brown and green material in a bin. Start with a layer of brown leaves, then add grass clippings and alternate. Turn the mixture every 3-5 days, and add water as needed to keep your pile damp.
Can You Put Yard Waste in the Trash?
In some states, it’s against the law to put yard waste in the regular trash. When in a landfill, yard waste doesn’t properly decompose. Instead, it releases the potent greenhouse gas methane. Yard waste also takes up volume in the landfill, which trash companies would like to avoid since yard debris is recyclable.