Yard Waste

When is yard waste collection and what is accepted?

Separate yard waste begins on April 1 and continues through the second FULL week in December.  Place yard waste at the curb by 7am on your collection day, or after 6pm the day before.

Remember that yard waste is not accepted in plastic bags. Yard waste is banned from landfills and incinerators in Massachusetts. All yard waste collected goes to a local composting facility.

Place yard waste in paper lawn refuse bags or barrels labeled with yard waste stickers. Call 617.349.4800 for stickers or request by email. Include your address and the quantity you would like.

Materials accepted:  
Leaves, grass, plants and shrub prunings and twigs no more than 1 inch in diameter or 3 feet in length. We will collect up to 3 bundles of thick limbs no more than 3 feet by 3 feet. 

Materials not accepted:
No dirt, food, sand, soil, rocks, tree stumps, or trash.

More information.

Why was my yard waste not picked up?

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 materials are visible. Sometimes materials are overlooked because they are behind trees, toters, cars, etc. Thank you for leaving your materials visible.

If it was missed, please report it by 9am the following day. You may use Commonwealth Connect or call 617-349-4800.  We will need to know your address, daytime phone number and a quick description (ex. 2 bags, 1 barrel).

Leave materials at the curb. The truck usually goes back for missed pickups after they have completed their regular route. 

Your yard waste may have been rejected due to unacceptable items, preparation or weight. There may be an orange sticker.

More information.


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. Click here for proper yard waste preparation instructions. 
  • 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 on roots, and so forth. Please divide this material into two bags or barrels and put it out for collection on your next collection day.
    • No Dirt, Rocks or Large Tree Limbs for Yard Waste 
      You must call a private hauler for these materials. 

    What do I do with my yard waste after yard waste 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.

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    Dept of Public Works

    147 Hampshire St
    Cambridge MA 02139


    Hours of Service

    Monday: 8:30am-8pm
    Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
    Friday: 8:30am-12pm

    Recycling Center Hours
    Tuesday & Thursday: 4:00pm-7:30pm  
    Saturday: 9:00am-4:00pm