Yard Waste

Yardwaste is made up of leaves, brush and grass.  These materials come in abundance seasonally in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  How you recycle them depends on the quantity you have; the municipality in which you live; and whether or not you desire to compost them for further reuse.

Although leaves appear on the ground throughout the year, managing large volumes of fallen leaves occurs in autumn.  
  • If only a few leaves are on your lawn, mow them as you cut the grass.  This will not harm your turf, but will practically disappear and provide assistance in maintaining moisture. 
  • Large amounts of leaves can also be mowed and either picked up by a mower bag and placed in leaf bags or stored if being used for compost. 
  • When raking large volumes of leaves to bag, please consider purchasing brown paper leaf bags.  These are easily available at major grocery stores as well as some municipal offices.  They readily decompose during the process of composting. 
  • Pennsylvania law prohibits landfilling truckloads of leaves.  Check with your municipality to see if leaf pick up is provided or if there is a site for bringing your leaves for composting.  The Lackawanna Recycling Center located at 3400 Boulevard Ave accepts leaves for composting on Monday through Friday during business hours.  You can phone 570-963-6868.  For a complete listing of municipal contact information, click on the link provided on the Home Page.
During major storm events many municipalities will provide brush pick up.  Whenever possible, please attempt to place branches and limbs at the curb in pieces easy for people to pick up and place into their equipment.  Smaller limbs can be bundled with rope or twine.  This helps the crews manage the tasks at hand.  Check with your municipal office for instructions on how to prepare brush for pick up.
Smaller twigs are often picked up by the garden rake when clearing leaves.  They can be placed in the leaf bags.  But please bundle larger limbs.  


Reduce waste for a low maintenance lawn

The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provides these facts and tips on managing your lawn.

  • About 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn can produce 200 – 500 lbs of clippings each year.
  • Grasscycling is a simple alternative to raking and bagging.
  • The clippings act as a fertilizer for a safe, healthy and green lawn.

Simple Tips for Grasscycling
  • Mow when grass is dry and use a sharp mower blade.
  • Mow often – trimming the top third of the blade of grass.
  • Water the lawn less often but for longer periods of time, soaking the soil.
  • Water in the morning so less water is lost through evaporation during the day or grass is damp at night.
  • If there are large clumps of grass left on the lawn, mow over again to allow the cuttings to sift into the turf.
  • Any mower can recycle grass clippings – just remove any bag and keep blade sharp.  When it’s time to replace your mower, consider a mulching mower. 

Uses for Clippings

  • Soil additive:  about once a month add fresh grass clippings into the garden to improve garden soil texture, moisture retention, nutrients and organic matter.
  • Fresh grass clippings are an excellent nitrogen source for compost piles.  They can compose a third of the pile and must be turned regularly to prevent odors.