The amount of phosphorus in grass clippings generated from just one lawn mowing can produce up to 100 lbs. of unwanted algae if it ends up in our lakes and ponds. Leaf “litter” and landscape trash account for 56% of the phosphorus in urban stormwater, in addition to clogging storm drains and increasing debris in our streams and waterways.
Reusing, recycling, and composting your leaves keeps them from going to landfills, which helps the community meet zero waste and climate action goals, and can save community members money by avoiding extra charges on trash bills.
Leaves are excellent for composting, and are put to use by farmers and gardeners as animal bedding and garden insulation. Leaves can also be mowed into grass by a mulching lawnmower, or can even support biodiversity by providing habitat in your yard when left on the ground.
- Compost or bag your leaves and grass clippings. Leaves and clippings left on lawns may blow or wash into storm drains, clogging them and causing flooding in the street.
- Don't blow grass clippings into the street.
- Hand-pull weeds when possible.
- Sweep up any spills or over spray of fertilizers on sidewalks or streets.
- Make your own compost from leaves and grass clippings to use as fertilizer, saving money on fertilizer and trash collection.
Local Disposal Options
- Sign up for curbside collection of yard trimmings with your waste hauler. Leaves and other yard trimmings will be composted
- Connect with neighbors who need leaves through online social networks such as Nextdoor, Facebook or ShareWaste
- Compost them at home to feed your soil
- Use a mulching lawnmower to mulch dry leaves into your grass
- Cover garden beds with them to provide insulation over the winter
Benefits of leaving leaves on the ground
- Dry leaves can be mulched into the lawn by using a mulching lawnmower, providing nutrients to the grass
- Provides critical habitat for beneficial insects and small mammals through the winter
- Provides nesting materials for birds
- Stem material (like that of sunflowers) provides habitat for native bees that bore into those types of stems for their homes