Spring Means Managing Yard Waste

Posted on March 01, 2013

As the snow melts, Minnesotans get excited to get back in the yard and start spring cleaning. Unburying your gardens to get rid of last year's begonias and the mounds of leaves may be high on your weekend task list. Here are some tips for managing the yard waste that comes along with spring yard cleanup.


Yard, garden and tree waste can be recycled into compost. In fact, putting it in your garbage is illegal in Minnesota. 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! Later use the finished compost to improve your soil or as mulch around plants.

Compost bins can be purchased at local garden centers, hardware stores or home improvement stores. Some counties also sell bins, and the Recycling Association of Minnesota is selling bins and rain barrels at a reduced rate this spring. You can even build your own compost bin! Click here for more information on compost bins.  

Curbside pickup and yard waste sites

If you don't plan on composting in your backyard, check with your garbage hauler to see if they offer yard waste pick up service, or you can drop off your yard and garden waste at the nearest compost site. Contact your garbage hauler, city or county for drop-off site locations.

Remember that if you put your yard waste in bags for curbside pickup, you must use compostable bags. You can use either paper bags or compostable plastic bags. 


Compost bins and bags work pretty well when you got weeds and similar 'soft' wastes, but what if you got branches and such 'solid' waste to recycle? The sheer volume of the waste, and the difficulties of tipping them into the bins will make you think if you had another solution. Well, I found out about garden shredders the other day, in this site: http://www.gardenshredderreview.co.uk. These useful machines reduce the volume of hard garden wastes about 80-90%, and they are ran by electric, so there's no pollution either. Regards, Cathy McNolan [email protected]

Ms. McNolan, you have some excellent advice!  There are a variety of shredders, chippers and leaf mulchers available at garden stores and online. Twigs and sticks take much longer to break down, but once they have been shredded, chipped or mulched, they turn into dirt much more quickly (and they take up much less space). Those who have a yard waste disposal service can check with your provider to see if they will take twigs and sticks that have been tied in a bundle. Also check to see how large the branches can be – larger branches often need to be disposed of at a compost site.

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