Clearing your yard of branches, leaves, and other debris is liberating, but you end up with a giant pile of yard waste. Here's what to do with it.
Photo by Patrick Phipps.
If you have plants, old sod, and trimmings left over after cleanup, you're probably wondering how to get rid of them. Any plants that can be saved or potted can be used in another part of your home or given away. But the rest of the organic material needs to be disposed of responsibly.
- Call your local sanitation department for a pickup. Waste Management will pick up your yard waste and put it to good use by mulching it. There is a limit to what they will pickup.
- Bring it to the dump. If you have a truck, this is one of the easiest solutions. Make sure your dump accepts yard waste material for recycling. They may charge a fee per load or by weight.
- Rent a chipper. If you have a lot heavy branches and shrubs, a chipper can be a good solution for converting your yard waste into mulch. They cost a few hundred per day. Extra caution should be observed when using this type of machine. Use the resulting mulch for your new yard.
- Hire a crew. Search your local area for yard waste or junk removal services. They come and haul it away. They will take it to the dump or a recycling center for you. Many times this is more economical than renting a chipper.
Your local laws may also allow for burning the yard refuse, but we don't recommend it as it emits pollutants and can lead to uncontrollable fires. If you absolutely must, make sure it's allowed — and make sure you follow their guidelines for disposing of waste this way.