Yard Waste

Fourteen MMWA member communities receive yard waste services: Village of Birch Run, Bridgeport Twp, Buena Vista Twp, Carrollton Twp, City of Frankenmuth, James Twp, Kochville Twp, City of Saginaw, Saginaw Twp, Spaulding Twp, Village of St Charles, Thomas Twp, Tittabawassee Twp and the City of Zilwaukee.

Yard waste is defined by state law as grass clippings, twigs (less than two inches in diameter), leaves, and other yard vegetation. Yard waste season runs from the first week of April through the end of November. 

Before you start raking, take a moment to learn more about the MMWA yard waste program.

What is yard waste?

Yard waste is defined by state law as grass clippings, sod without dirt, twigs (less than 2″ in diameter), leaves, and other yard vegetation. Yard waste is not: rootballs, soil, stumps, tree trunks, large shrubs, and bushes.

How is yard waste different than brush?

Branches that are two to six inches in diameter are considered brush. As required by state law, brush must be handled as trash, not yard waste. Residents may put out one bundle of brush per week. It must be cut to three by four feet in length and secured by twine or duct tape. Place your bundle of brush near your trash bags or cans, not with your yard waste.

How do I put my yard waste to the curb?

Place yard waste in cans 20-35 gallons in size or in paper yard waste bags for collection on your regular trash day. Cans must be labeled with “Yard Waste Only” stickers, available through MMWA or from your local municipal office. Cans and bags must weigh less than 50 pounds each. Close bags and use lids on cans if available. Twigs and grasses cannot extend more than 12″ above the container.

One exception to the can size rule is the City of Frankenmuth, where residents must use 20-gallon or smaller cans with handles, labeled with a “Yard Waste Only” sticker. All other yard waste program guidelines apply.

How many yard waste cans or bags can I put out each week?

Residents may set out an unlimited number of bags or cans.

Will you accept yard waste in plastic bags?

Yard waste in plastic bags will not be collected. Please use only labeled cans and paper yard waste bags.

Can food scraps go in my yard waste bags or cans?

The composting site used by MMWA processes only yard waste. Please do not put food waste in your yard waste containers or bags.

Yard waste season is over. Can I put out my yard waste as trash?

No. State law prohibits the disposal of yard waste in the landfill. Yard waste set out after the last day of November will not be collected.

How do I dispose of my Christmas tree or other seasonal greenery?

Christmas trees are collected as trash at the curb throughout the month of January. Trees that are buried in snow or frozen to the ground will not be collected. Large or heavy trees may have to be picked up by the bulk truck, not your regular trash driver. This service applies only to real Christmas trees that have been used as indoor holiday decor. A small amount of seasonal decorative vegetation may be set out as trash, including pumpkins, gourds, swags and wreaths.

Yard waste is not offered in my community. What are my disposal options?

Some communities have seasonal brush drop-off sites or curbside brush collection programs. Please contact your municipality to see if these services are available. You may also want to check with local landscaping companies to see if they can be hired to remove these materials for a fee.

It’s December and a lot of people are still raking leaves. Can the yard waste season be extended?

The duration of yard waste collection services was determined when MMWA’s contracts with both our hauler and the compost site were negotiated. The season has run from April 1 through November 30 for many years.

While not typical, in some cases municipalities with yard waste collection services may consider extending these services into December. This is an individual municipality decision and would be made in November. Residents should monitor MMWA’s website and Facebook page, as well as their municipality’s website and social media accounts for the most up-to-date information.


If your tree is too heavy or bulky for the trash driver to collect, he will schedule it for pick-up by the bulk truck. In those cases, trees will be collected within two business days of your service day.