Remember to rake up your leaves to protect Minnesota waters


Fall brings a new school year, cool weather and of course — leaves in the yard! During the fall season, it’s important to dispose of leaves and other yard waste properly to keep Minnesota waters clean.

Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings, garden debris, brush, sod, logs, trees and stumps, both indoor and outdoor plants, mulch and woodchips. Yard waste is a valuable resource that can add nutrients back into your yard or be recycled into compost. It is illegal to put this kind of waste in your household garbage. Here are four ways you can manage yard waste this fall:


  1. Drop-off yard waste at a compost site.

You can dispose of large amounts of yard waste at a local compost site. There are compost sites open to all Hennepin County residents in Burnsville, Empire Township, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetrista and Shakopee. Some cities have small municipal drop-off sites and/or special collection days. Find a full list of yard waste drop-off sites at or call 612-348-7777.


  1. Leave grass clippings on your lawn.

This will add valuable nutrients to your yard and can reduce the need for fertilizers. Don’t rake leaves into the street because they carry nutrients that end up in storm sewers and drain to local water sources, polluting rivers, lakes and streams.


  1. Compost in your backyard.

Use a compost bin in your backyard for your garden, yard and food waste. Compost can be used to improve soil on gardens. Learn more about composting, including how to get a compost bin, at


  1. Curbside pick-up

Contact your waste or city for information on options for curbside yard waste pick-up and material preparations. Many waste haulers offer a seasonal yard waste pick-up in the fall. The City of Minneapolis waste collection offers yard waste pick-up for residents April through November at no charge on your regular garbage day. Learn more at, search: yard waste. If you bag yard waste for curbside collection in Hennepin County, you are required to use either paper or compostable plastic bags.


What about ash tree waste?

The emerald ash borer is a destructive tree pest that attacks and kills ash trees. To prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer, a quarantine is in place for Hennepin County that prohibits hauling ash tree waste out of the county. Ash tree waste should be taken to the closest disposal site to minimize the spread of the emerald ash borer. Some yard waste haulers and sites cannot accept ash tree waste. See the list of ash tree waste disposal sites and how to keep emerald ash borer from spreading at


Do your part for the environment this fall and manage your yard waste properly. Learn more about managing yard waste at


This information was provided by Hennepin County Environment and Energy Environmental Education and Outreach.