With all of the leaves piling up in your yard, you are probably bending over backwards to get rid of them.

Raking fallen leaves in the garden
Zbynek Pospisil

Before you decide to just sweep them in the street or move them in anyway, ask yourself is it illegal in Michigan to put leaves in your trash can?

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What are leaves considered?

Rob Stothard
Rob Stothard

Leaves fall (get it 😂) under the yard waste category.

According to Granger Waste Services,

"Yard waste includes items like leaves, grass clippings, vegetable or other garden debris, shrubbery or brush or tree trimmings, less than 4 feet in length and 2 inches in diameter."

Digital Vision./ThinkStock

So what's the answer? Is it illegal to put leaves in your garbage?

Yes, it is!

It is so serious that after a 1987 study by the Department of Natural Resources, putting yard waste in landfills became illegal.

According to Michigan legislation,

"So much yard waste was in the waste system that there was concern it would outstrip the limited capacity of landfills unless the disposal of grass clippings and leaves was curbed or eliminated."

So after that, it became adopted by the Michigan legislature and municipalities.

Milous, ThinkStock

What is considered improper disposal?

  • do not rake, pile or blow leaves and/or other debris into the streets or storm drains
  • do not burn or throw leaves into household trash

What should I do with the leaves then?

From now until the second Saturday in December, you have the option to pay for yard waste collection. The city's rule is that all yard waste has to be collected by 7:00 AM.

In the city of Grand Rapids, there are multiple things you can do with your yard waste.

Person holding pile of autumn leaves, mid section

You can purchase carts, tags, and paper bags from City Hall at 300 Monroe Ave. NW.

To purchase a cart, it is a one-time $27.50 fee and every time you use the cart, it is $6.00.

To receive a paper bag, it is $2.50 for a single bag or $12.50 for five of them.

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