Recycle Fallen Leaves

Recycling LeavesDid you know that the colorful gold, red and brown leaves that blanket your lawn in the fall can add to your garden’s beauty in the spring? Fallen leaves contain an abundance of soil-enriching nutrients that can keep landscapes healthy after they breakdown.

Organic materials, such as leaves, grass and food can be composted or used as leaf mulch to improve soil structure, conserve water, and control aeration corrosion.

So, rather than shoving them into a garbage cart headed for the landfill (now illegal in some areas) or burning them (which pollutes air)―transform your fallen leaves into compost or use as leaf mulch.

Good Green Habits for Fallen Leaves

Here are planet-friendly tips for fallen leaves, grass clippings, shrub trimmings and other decaying compostable materials:

  • Place leaves in your green waste cart along with other yard trimmings (some garbage companies also accept food waste and food-soiled paper) to be transported to composting facilities where they decompose into rich soil amendment and mulch.
  • Save extra leaves and green waste in trash bags and empty a little each week into your green waste cart―but no plastic in the cart!
  • Store extra leaves in bags and add a little at a time to your compost bin―visit USEPA to learn how to compost at home.
  • Shred or chop leaves (some lawnmowers will do this for you) and spread around trees, shrubs and perennials to mulch and insulate for winter―or allow shredded leaves to remain on your lawn.
  • Till or dig whole leaves directly into gardens to keep them healthy.Recycling Leaves With Help

Garbage Company Doesn’t Pickup Your Recyclables?

Cities and garbage companies throughout the world offer different types of recycling and garbage pickup services to their customers.  Some don’t pick up recyclables at all. If your city or garbage company doesn’t provide a curbside pickup program for recyclable items like paper, glass, yard clippings and food waste, with a little ingenuity, you can still be your best green self.

Give Recyclables a Second Life

You can keep recyclable items out of the landfill with these steps:

  • Visit or call 1-800-CLEAN-UP to find nearby recycling facilities for your unwanted paper, metal, hazardous, plastic, glass, electronics, automotive, household, garden and construction materials.
  • Check out  USEPA to learn how to easily compost organic waste such as fallen leaves, food and other organic waste at home.

GREEN TIP: If you’re unsure what kinds of recyclables and trash your garbage company accepts, call or email them to request a service brochure or an online FAQ link and then post the info on your refrigerator. They may have services you don’t know about that could help you become a better recycler!