Garbage & Recycling

Man raking leaves

Yard Waste

Yard waste and leaves, including branches and plants, are all organic substances, and they all factor "organically" into the City's waste reduction program.

Do not use plastic bags for yard waste as they cannot be composted and therefore will not be collected.

What role does Yard Waste play in waste diversion?

The City has set the challenging goal of 70% waste diversion from landfill. The more yard waste you deal with at home or put out for City collection and composting, the closer we get to our target and the longer our landfill remains open to accept the garbage that needs to go there.

The leaves and yard waste collected are processed into compost (useful in building healthy soil), some of which is offered back to you for free each year at various locations around the City from May to October. You can also get free compost at your local Community Environment Day.

Disposal Tips
  • Place in kraft paper yard waste bags or rigid open-topped containers
  • Place items next to your Garbage Bin for free pick-up. Note: No plastic bags or grass clippings are allowed
  • Secure brush and branches in bundles no longer than 1.2 m (4 feet), no wider than 0.6 m (2 feet) and no heavier than 20 kg (approximately 44 lbs.)
  • The diameter of wood set out for collection cannot exceed 7.5 cm (3 inches)
    • If items exceed this size, make arrangements with a private company
  • Grass clippings or sod are not accepted in yard waste or garbage, reuse these materials by leaving them on your lawn to help build healthy, nutrient rich soil

What is considered Yard Waste?

Tree limbs, trunks, stumpsLeavesPumpkins
MulchChristmas tree 

ExpandWhat you and the landscape contractor need to know about the City's yard waste collection program

Failure to comply with the by-law could result in a fine.

You can tell the season by what's set out curbside for City collection. Multiple paper yard waste bags are a sure sign of spring and fall. Both times of the year, as we plant, prune and rake, out come the full yard waste bags and containers for pick-up.

The City asks you to pay close attention to your collection days for this material. Your collection calendar, clearly identifies when your household receives its bi-weekly yard waste collection service. Please note, there are rules about when your containers/bags may be put out at the curb and when they must be taken away.

Please remember that if you receive daytime collection, your yard waste can be placed out no earlier than 8:00 p.m. the night before your collection date.

Residents employing landscaping contractors to maintain their properties are responsible for making sure contractors follow the rules as well.


  • Put yard waste out on either the evening before or early on your collection day as per the schedule in your local Collection Calendar
  • Store yard waste on your own property (close to your home) between collections, not on City property
  • Grass clippings or sod are not accepted in yard waste or garbage
  • The City encourages you to leave your grass clippings on the lawn
  • Acceptable yard waste containers: rigid, open-topped containers (a reusable container, without a lid - e.g. an extra garbage can, bushel basket) or kraft paper bag. No cardboard boxes or plastic bags.
  • Please instruct your contracted service provider to follow all of these instructions

If you witness illegal dumping of waste-materials

  • Call the City of Toronto's Waste Enforcement Hotline at 416-392-0873 or
  • E-mail to file a complaint