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Residential leaf and yard waste separation is currently mandatory in Queens and Brooklyn. 

Although it is optional in all other boroughs, you are strongly encouraged to separate leaf and yard waste from your trash.

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) collects yard waste from residential property. Yard waste includes:

  • Leaves
  • Small twigs and branches
  • Grass clippings
  • Hay bales

DSNY won’t pick up any yard waste produced by a landscaper, contractor, or other professional. If you hired someone to remove, rake, or pick up the waste, they must dispose of it. Learn more on the Landscaper Waste Requirements page.

There is no limit to the number of leaves or amount of clippings that can be put out for collection if they were produced by residents and not landscapers.

Specific leaf and yard waste disposal rules depend on whether or not your building is receiving curbside composting services from the City.

All residents in Brooklyn and Queens (and those who had previously signed up for curbside composting service in Bronx Community Board 8, and Manhattan Community Boards 6 and 7) already have year-round leaf collection service. 

You can use the brown bin provided by the Department of Sanitation for your yard waste.

If you don't have a brown bin, you can use any bin less than 55 gallons and label it with a Composting Bin Decal. Use the Sanitation Material Request Form to order a free decal.

In addition to bins, you can use:

  • Paper lawn and leaf bags, which are available at hardware stores, home improvement stores, and many larger supermarkets
  • Clear plastic bags

Yard waste can also be tied into bundles 2 feet by 4 feet or smaller.

Leaves should be placed with other curbside compost material and will be collected on your recycling day. 

If your building is not receiving curbside composting services, then you may place your leaves, grass clippings, and small twigs less than 1/2 inch in diameter in an unlined trash can and place curbside for collection on your trash day.

You can also use paper lawn and leaf bags to dispose of your leaves and yard waste. They are generally available from hardware and home improvement stores, as well as many larger supermarkets.

Instead of throwing out leaves with your trash, you can also:

  • Compost them in your yard
  • Check with your local food scrap drop-off site to see if leaves are accepted
  • Leave them in your yard

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