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Clearing your yard before winter? Here's where residents can take their leaves in GR

Michigan law prohibits leaves from being added to regular trash.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Person holding yard rake with pile of autumn leaves under rake.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's almost that time of year again. Time to bust out your rake and begin to collect the fallen leaves around the yard. But once the leaves are in their colorful, neat piles, how do you dispose of them properly?

The City of Grand Rapids is offering several alternatives for cleaning up leaves. Here's what they suggest:

  • Using “Don’t Bag It!” techniques and composting them back into the lawn
  • Participating in Grand Rapids’ Yard Waste Program
  • Dropping off leaves and other yard waste free of charge at 2001 Butterworth SW

Improper disposal includes:

  • Raking leaves and other debris into the street
  • Burning or throwing leaves into household trash

There are three options of yard waste removal within the City:

Yard Waste Cart (grass clippings, leaves, etc.)

  • 96 Gallon Cart - $27.50 one-time charge
  • Yellow Yard Waste Cart Tag - $6 each time you use the cart.
  • Sign-up by using our City Website or in-person at City Hall, 300 Monroe Avenue NW

City Yard Waste Paper Bag (grass clippings, leaves, etc.)

  • $2.50 each or $12.50 for a package of five
  • Yard waste materials cannot weigh more than 30 pounds

Purple Bulk Yard Waste Tag (bundled branches and twigs)

  • $2.50 each
  • Bulk yard waste materials must be tagged and tied
  • Yard waste materials cannot weigh more than 30 pounds
  • Bundled yard waste cannot exceed four (4) feet in length and must be under two inches in diameter

City yard waste paper bags and tags may be purchased at the Customer Service Lobby at City Hall, located at 300 Monroe Avenue NW.  Many Grand Rapids neighborhood stores may carry them as well (call ahead before you go). A list of participating stores can be found on the web page linked above.

The city is reminding residents to never rake leaves into the street. Public Works Director John Gorney reminds residents that Grand Rapids does not have a leaf vacuuming program like some neighboring communities, and it is important to keep the streets clean of leaves to prevent clogged catch basins. 

The City does begin street sweeping in November to clear leaves that naturally fall into the roadway, but it is illegal for residents to rake, pile, or blow leaves or tree branches into the streets or storm drains.  These activities are a violation of the City Code. Street sweepers will avoid areas with excessive leaf build up due to illegal activities. 

In addition, residents are reminded that Michigan law prohibits leaves from being added to regular trash, or burning leaves. Burning leaves releases large amounts of air pollution, can cause breathing problems for sensitive groups, and lead to long-term health effects. 

For additional information about Grand Rapids’ Yard Waste Program or Basin Buddies Program, please visit www.grandrapids.mi.gov. If you have any questions, please call 311 or dial (616) 456-3000. 

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