Yard & Garden Waste
Wondering what to do with those mounds of raked leaves and clumps of grass clippings? Think of it as a resource—one that will help keep your flowers blooming and your yard healthy and beautiful, year after year. Putting yard, garden and tree waste in your garbage is illegal in Minnesota. Rather than paying to dispose of this organic resource, compost it!
Composting TipsComposting is a great way for you to reduce the amount of yard and garden waste you throw away. Leaves, grass and plant trimmings, along with some types of food waste, can be combined in a backyard compost bin to create a valuable soil additive for your lawn and garden. That is recycling at its best! Use the finished compost to improve your soil or as mulch around plants.
You can compost:
- Plant trimmings
- Grass and leaves
- Vegetable and fruit scraps, rinds, and peels
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea leaves and tea bags
- Egg shells
- Nut shells
Do NOT Compost:
- Butter, cheese, or dairy products
- Meats or bones
- Gravies or sauces
- Pet feces
Items that can't be composted should go in the garbage. Large amounts of cooking oil and grease are accepted from residents at the Carver County Environmental Center, Dakota County Recycling Zone and Ramsey County's household hazardous waste collection sites (see county links at right).
Recipe for Good Clean Dirt
Like a simple recipe, your compost pile needs the right mix of ingredients in order to produce the best results.
- As a general rule, add three parts of dry ingredients - leaves or dry grass - to one part wet food waste.
- Keep the pile most. The optimal moisture level for compost is best described as similar to a wrung-out sponge.
- Speed up decomposition by turning the pile with a pitch fork or shovel at least monthly.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn to eliminate or reduce the need for fertilizers. If you're still using fertilizers, do so sparingly and choose phosphorus-free varieties to keep our rivers and lakes free of algae.
Recycling & Disposal Information
Here are some tips for managing your yard waste.
Contact your garbage hauler or county for information on pick-up options. Your garbage hauler may separately collect yard waste for a fee and then bring it to a commercial compost site. Bonus: you can also get garden-ready compost at many of these sites.
Another option is to drop off your yard and garden waste at nearest compost site near you. Contact your garbage hauler, city, or county (see links at right) for drop-off site locations, items accepted and any fees involved. Many of these sites are only open seasonally.
Compostable Bag Law
Effective January 1, 2010, residents in the Twin Cities area who bag their yard and organic waste are required to put their waste out for pickup in compostable bags--either paper bags or compostable plastic bags. This law applies to residents in Anoka, Carver, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. Learn more about the compostable bag requirements here.