Ann Arborites can choose to mulch their leaves on site, or set paper bags and compost carts with leaves at the curb for weekly pickup, or take advantage of free bulk leaf drop-off locations. Please remember that the city no longer picks up loose leaves that are raked to the street.
Ann Arbor’s last week of curbside compostable and leaves collection for the season is the first week of December. The weekly compost collection program resumes the first week of April.
On-Site Leaf Management Options
Use the city’s weekly compostable pickup service
begins March 31, 2014 and lasts through December 5, 2014. Use bags or a compost cart for weekly
compostable pickups. Place
leaves in large paper bags or use the optional compost carts to set at the curb
before 7 a.m. on the neighborhood weekly solid waste collection day. Compost
carts may be purchased for a one-time charge of $50 for any size cart (32-,64-,
or 96-gallon) from the city’s Customer Service and Payment Center, located at
Larcom City Hall, 301 E. Huron, open weekdays 8 a.m – 5 p.m., or by calling
734.994.2807. Cart information can be found online by clicking here.
Feed your lawn with leaves by using a mulching mower. You don’t have to rake and bag leaves this fall – use a
mulching mower instead. Faculty at the Turf Research Institute at Michigan
State University successfully tested mulching over 18 inches of dry leaves into
lawns with healthy results year after year. Mulching is the same method of leaf
management golf courses around the country have been using for years, as it
works very well for properties with lots of trees.
Compost at home. An easy outdoor composting recipe is available online here.
Fall Leaf Drop Off Options for City of Ann Arbor Properties
Free, unlimited leaves drop off is available between September 3 and December 30, 2013, at the Ann Arbor Compost Center, 4150 Platt Road, open weekdays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (734.794.6380) from city residents, Ann Arbor commercial properties, and/or their contracted landscapers/haulers. To deliver leaves, please follow site signs and drive across the city's recycling plant scale. Stop at the scale house window to show proof of Ann Arbor residency (driver's license or current water bill). Haulers follow a slightly different process, described below. The free drop off is for Ann Arbor leaves, only. Other types of yard waste – or leaves from non-Ann Arbor locations – are charged at $12/cubic yard.
Limited, free leaf and other compostable material drop off, year round, of up to 1 cubic yard (or six yard waste bags) at Recycle Ann Arbor's Drop Off Station, 2950 E. Ellsworth, 734.971.7400, open Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. from Ann Arbor residents. To be eligible for the free yard waste drop off and to waive the $3 entry fee, Ann Arbor residents must show proof of residency with a driver's license or current water bill at the gatehouse window.
LANDSCAPER and HAULER INFORMATION
The following letter was mailed to many area landscapers and haulers in September along with attachments for leaf drop of permit "A" for individual properties and permit "B" for multiple properties, and a summary of the drop-off options at the Compost Center scale house
Commercial haulers have free leaf drop-off between 8 a.m. to Noon, and 2-4 p.m. in order to avoid backups at the scale house by recycling and refuse vehicles.
Help Area Seniors With Leaf Raking
Neighborhood Senior Services is coordinating its 35th annual fall chore day on a Saturday, in mid-November from 10-2. Volunteers sign up online by Oct 31 at www.nssweb.org and assist raking leaves, checking smoke alarms, and helping seniors throughout Washtenaw County. 734.712.7775. Groups, individuals, and families are welcome to participate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why don't we store bulk leaves in the streets?
In 2010, the City of Ann Arbor transitioned away from providing two bulk street leaf pickup days per neighborhood, instead expanding the weekly curbside compost pickups to accommodate unlimited bagged leaves through mid December. The benefits include:
- Providing weekly curbside leaf pickups instead of relying on two seasonal street collections.
- Avoiding problems with vehicles parking over leaves on the pickup day, impeding truck collection access, and resulting in complaints from neighborhoods with street leaves left behind for a season.
- Preventing leaves from clogging storm drains and causing neighborhood flooding.
- Increasing safety for bicyclists along marked bike lanes and other streets.
- Responding to weather changes. If warm, dry weather delays the leaf drop, or early snowfall reduces the opportunity for street collection at the end of the season, every resident gets the same weekly access to pickup each year.
What are the alternatives to raking leaves to put into bags or compost carts for weekly pickup?
To eliminate raking, some people mow over leaves with the bag attached and then empty the bag into paper yard waste bags or compost carts. Some leaf blowers can operate in reverse, vacuuming up leaves to be chopped into a bag. The partially shredded leaves can also be used as mulch around gardens and landscape areas. Home composting and mulching leaves directly into the lawn are other options.
I want my lawn care service to haul away my leaves. May we rake leaves into the street and store them there for a week or so until the service picks them up?
No. If you decide to use a hauling service, you may store leaves on your extension but not in the street.
What about naturally falling leaves in the street? Do I have to pick up every leaf?
No. the city's street sweeping machines can handle normal amounts of fallen leaves, but they cannot sweep up piles of leaves.
I am not required to use a compost cart for my leaves, correct?
Correct! Paper yard waste bags may be used for leaves and other yard debris. The optional compost carts provide convenience in being able to roll around the yard while working. Those who choose to purchase and use a city-approved compost cart may also include more types of materials for composting – grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and uncoated paper plates, cups and napkins for municipal collection and processing. Paper yard waste bags are not appropriate for holding these additional, heavy, wet materials that easily leak and break through paper bags at the curb and can attract unwanted wildlife. Just a reminder, plastic bags are not accepted for leaves and yard waste because the resulting condition of the contents create lots of compost site operation problems. Plastic bags, however, continue to be acceptable for holding refuse in trash carts.