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Yard Waste Disposal

State law, effective July 1, 1993, bans the disposal of grass clippings or other yard waste in garbage carts. The state prohibits yard waste dumping because of the hundreds of thousands of tons of yard refuse that make up a major percentage of material hauled to landfills. Prior to the ban, during the growing season, nearly 30% of all material dumped in landfills consisted of grass clippings, brush, and other yard materials.

State law and the city ordinance pertaining to yard waste define yard waste as grass clippings, weeds, garden debris and "soft-bodied, green herbaceous material less than one inch in diameter." Below is a list of types of yard waste and the proper ways to dispose of them.

Grass Clippings
  • Leave clippings on the lawn to decompose and nourish the soil
  • Take them to a Self-Help Center
  • Compost them and use them to nourish plantings
Garden Debris

Garden debris is considered material from vegetable and flower gardens like tomato vines, dead plants, corn stalks, sunflower stalks, and weeds.

  • Compost garden debris
  • Take it to a Self Help Center
  • Leave garden debris in a pile until fall, then put it on top of leaves raked into the street at the curbline for city pickup during the announced fall leaf collection, mid-October through mid-November
  • Do not put leaves in your garbage cart or recycling bin/cart
  • Compost them
  • Leave on your yard (after shredding with lawnmower)
  • Take to a Self-Help Center
  • During the city's autumn leaf collection, mid-October to mid-November, rake into the street along the curbline. Please do not rake leaves at the curb any other time of year.
  • Information on Fall Leaf Collection

Flowers and floral arrangements are exempt from the state yard waste ban. Put them in the garbage cart or compost them.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are considered food waste and can be put in the garbage cart or learn more about composting.

Twigs and Pruning Debris
  • Take twigs and pruning debris from trees, hedges and shrubs to a Self-Help Center
  • You may put a few twigs in your garbage cart
Brush and Branches

Brush and branches are not collected from December  - March.

Beginning April 1, piles of 2 cubic yards or less of brush and branches may be put at the curb for collection. Call to arrange a pickup.


Take brush and branches to a Self-Help Center.


Pet Waste

Help keep our rivers and Lake Michigan clean. Please pick up after your pet. Pet waste left on the lawn or next to the sidewalk washes into storm drains directly into the rivers and Lake Michigan.

  • Double-bag pet waste in plastic bags
  • Seal the bags and put them in the green garbage cart