Yard Waste

The Region of Waterloo collects yard waste from eligible households every second week (the opposite week from garbage collection), seasonally from late March until early December.

Ask the Waste Whiz!

How to prepare yard waste for curbside collection

  1. Paper yard waste bag (available for purchase at local Yard waste can and bag with measurementsgrocery and hardware stores). 
    • Do not overfill
    • Keep paper bags dry to ensure each bag is strong enough to hold its contents at collection.
  2. Reusable approved-size garbage can.
  3. Bundles: Branches having a maximum thickness (diameter) of 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) and maximum length of 92 centimetres (3 feet) tied into bundles with jute or cotton twine. 

Maximum weight allowed for each yard waste paper bag, reusable

Bundled twigs

 can, and bundle is 23 kilograms (50 pounds). 

Yard waste set out in plastic bags, blue boxes, green bins, pails, or cardboard boxes will not be collected during the seasonal collection period. 

What is accepted?

  • Branches, less than 92 centimetres (3 feet) in length and 8 centimetres (3 inches) in diameter, bundled with jute or cotton twine
  • Leaves, fallen fruit from trees, pine cones
  • Plant waste from yard maintenance
  • Pumpkins (remove candles and decorations, place beside yard waste bags/containers.) 

NO oversized or unbundled branches, glass, metal, noxious weeds, plastic, pet waste, litter, renovation waste, wooden pallets, stones, soil, stumps, treated wood.

Note: Branches greater than 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) in diameter, or stumps of any size cannot be collected curbside. Regional waste management sites can accept some of this material.

Wondering if an item is accepted in our Yard Waste program? Ask the Waste Whiz

Collection schedule and rules

  • Set out at the curb by 7 a.m. on your collection day every second week (opposite from garbage week), spring to fall. Please note: On your collection day, different trucks pick up different materials starting at 7 a.m. (they work into the evening). The time that your items are collected will vary week to week depending on various factors, such as routing changes, road construction, and weather conditions. Collection crews sticker and leave behind unacceptable items.
  • Follow the 2022 collection schedule.
  • Keep it visible and accessible for collection crews (not behind a parked car, etc.).
  • Bundle branches with jute or cotton string. Do not use wire, tape or plastic cord.
  • Maximum weight for each bag, bundle or can is 23 kilograms (50 pounds).
  • Use the proper container. Yard waste will not be collected in blue boxes, green bins or cardboard boxes. Each container must be able to support its contents. 

After the seasonal yard waste collection has ended, use the options to deal with yard waste, listed in the section below.

What are other options for dealing with yard waste?

  1. Compost it in your backyard.
  2. Grasscycle. Mulch your grass when mowing your lawn to provide nutrients for a healthier lawn. Mulch leaves, too!
  3. Spread excess dirt on your lawn or flower beds. This could include last year's used potting or houseplant soil, or dirt shaken from edgings or weeds. 
  4. Drop it off at Region of Waterloo waste management sites (fees will apply).
  5. Layer leaves on your vegetable garden and flower beds in the fall. This could help reduce weeds, and when you dig in the leaves in the spring, it will add carbon to the soil. Watch this video about how to deal with leaves.
  6. Use the seasonal loose leaf collection and drop-off programs offered by local cities. Visit your city's website for details:  City of Cambridge, City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo

Notes: 

  • After our seasonal collection program has ended, yard waste set out in garbage bags/cans and paper yard waste bags will go to our local landfill as garbage and count towards your garbage limit. Any items over the limit will require a garbage tag.
  • Bundles of branches will also be collected and dumped at our landfill and count toward your bulky item limit
  • We have a two-week special curbside collection of natural Christmas trees. Go to our Collection Matters page - Holiday section for details.
  • The Townships do not provide loose leaf collection or leaf drop-off sites at this time.

Tips and FAQs (frequently asked questions)

  • Use our free Waste Whiz app to set collection reminders.
  • Keep yard waste dry to ensure that it doesn't get waterlogged and overweight. Store it under a tarp, or in a shed or garage. This is particularly important when to you use paper yard waste bags; prevent the bags from tearing.
  • Don't set out items the night before collection if rain and windy weather are expected. Place your items on the curb by 7 a.m. on your collection day if the weather is better.
  • Consider using the options listed in the section above. Most help reduce the amount of yard waste you need to set to the curb.
  • Ensure your yard waste is visible and not behind lamp posts or shrubs.
  • If you use acceptable garbage cans to set out yard waste, ensure they have bright ribbons or our yellow yard waste stickers on them. This helps collection crews on yard waste trucks identify items that need to be emptied. If you want yard waste stickers email us your order and the stickers will be mailed to you.

What happens to the yard waste after it's collected?

Yard waste is taken to the Region of Waterloo Waste Management site in Cambridge (201 Savage Road) for processing. It gets turned into compost and mulch. For details, please go to our Centralized Composting section.

Is compost and mulch available?

Please go to our Centralized Composting section for details. 

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