Yard Waste at Curb in Barrels and Bags

Yard Waste Pick Up

Public Works

From April to Mid-December, the City offers free weekly pick up of yard waste. Yard waste is banned from landfills and incinerators in Massachusetts, so it is important to separate yard waste from your regular trash. 

Important Tips:

  • Set yard waste out by 7AM on your collection day, or after 6PM the night before.
  • Place yard waste in barrels marked with City-issued stickers facing the street, or in lawn refuse bags. Lawn refuse bags do not require a sticker. 
  • Barrels should not exceed 32-gallons and should not weigh more than 50 pounds.
  • No plastic bags. Do not staple or tape bags.
  • Bundle branches greater than 1 inch in diameter with string and place next to trash. 
  • If you hire a contractor to clean up your yard, they are required to remove the yard waste and take to a compost facility. 

To request stickers, please email DPW and include the quantity requested and your address. Stickers are also available for pick up at DPW, 147 Hampshire St. 

Accepted Materials: 

  • Leaves, Grass, Plants
  • Shrub Prunings & Twigs (no more than 1 inch in diameter and 3 feet in length)
  • Thick Limbs (3 tied bundles per week, no more than 3 feet in length and diameter)
  • Pumpkins

Unaccepted Materials:

  • No Trash
  • No Food
  • No Soil, Dirt, Sand, Rocks or Tree Stumps (call a private hauler)
  • No Invasive Plants: Certain invasive plants should be trashed, according to a special directive from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Do not put in compost or yard waste. Plants that must be trashed rather than collected as yard waste include: Kudzu, Black Swallow-Wort, Japanese Knotweed, Purple Loosestrife, Garlic Mustard, Oriental Bittersweet. Dispose of the entire plant. If you have a trash bag(s) of invasive plants, contact DPW in advance (617-349-4800) to help ensure the trash staff remove it.

Tips and FAQs

My yard waste was not picked up on my regular collection day

Yard waste must be set out by 7AM on your collection day, or after 6PM the night before.

Be sure yard waste stickers are facing the street and is visible (i.e. not behind trees, carts, cars, etc). Thank you for leaving your materials visible.
If your yard waste was missed, please report it by 9AM the following day. Please report it at CambridgeMA.Gov/311 (preferred) or leave a voicemail at 617-349-4800. Leave materials at the curb and pickup will be done by the end of the next collection day.

Sometimes, your yard waste may have received a rejection sticker due to unacceptable items, preparation or weight.

What do I do with yard waste after yard waste pick up ends for the season?

If you can, please hold onto your yard waste until collection resumes April 1. If you must have it collected we can take it as trash, but yard waste is banned from landfills and incinerators in Massachusetts.

We do NOT accept yard waste at the Recycling Center.

Why is there an orange sticker on my yard waste?

Please avoid these common problems to ensure pickup of your yard waste:

No Plastic Bags for Yard Waste
Plastic bags will not decompose with your leaf and yard waste. Please note that rubbish or recycling crews will not pick up yard waste in plastic bags. 

No Dirt, Rocks or Large Tree Limbs for Yard Waste
You must call a private hauler for these materials.

Heavy Barrel or Bag of Yard Waste
Our drivers cannot lift heavy barrels or bags of yard waste. Usually heavy yard waste set-outs contain large amounts of wet leaves, excessive amounts of soil or roots, etc. Please divide this material into two bags or barrels and put it out for collection on your next collection day

Page was last modified on 7/25/2019 10:34 AM
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