The city offers single-family residential properties one free 64- or 96-gallon compost cart. Pick up is free or one can be delivered for $59, additional carts are available for a fee. To order a cart and arrange for pick up or delivery, please contact the customer service center at 734.994.7336 or via
Carts exceeding 112 pounds for the 32-gallon, 224 pounds for the 64-gallon, or 336 pounds for the 96-gallon size will not be serviced.
Acceptable compost materials
- Plate scrapings and food waste (including meat and bones)*
- Bamboo dinnerware* (only until Dec. 31, 2023)
- Grass clippings*
BPI certified compostable bags, containers, silverware, etc. (only until Dec. 31, 2023)
- Leaves and brush
- Branches less than 6 inches diameter (must fit in cart with lid closed)
- Unpainted, untreated lumber (must fit in cart with lid closed)
- Undecorated and cut up Christmas trees
- Garden pruning, garden surplus, crab apples, etc.
- Used, cool wood ashes make great garden and flower bed fertilizer. If you aren't able to use them there, then please place in compost cart.
*Items for compost carts only.
Unacceptable compost materials
- Plastic bags or containers
- Trash and recyclables
Dirt, rocks, stones or gravel
- Branches over 6 inches in diameter or over 4 feet in length
- Painted or treated wood
- Animal waste or cat litter
- Tree stumps
Paper yard bags and bundled brush/tree limbs
Paper yard bags may be used for yard trimmings such as leaves, weeds and other vegetation. Paper yard bags are limited to 10 per weekly setout (beginning Sept. 4, 2023) and a weight limit of 50 pounds per bag.
Branches, tree limbs and brush are collected at the curb but must be under 4' in length. Brush and branches can be tied together in a bundle with natural twine not exceeding 18" in diameter. Individual tree limbs must not exceed 6" in diameter.
Participating residents must place their compostable material at the curb before 7 a.m. on their weekly waste collection day — allowing at least 3 feet between each cart with clearance from any obstacles overhead. Carts should not be placed in lanes of travel, either roads or bike lanes, instead using yard extensions or buffer zones as directed.
Dumping yard trimmings/waste in parks or other public places is not allowed. Please make use of the drop-off facility mentioned below.
Preparing compost and cart
Make sure to prepare your
compost and compost cart properly for timely service and to avoid odors.
Compost facility: yard material, drop-off, sales
Ann Arbor's compost facility is located at 4170 Platt Road. The facility is operated by WeCare Denali, normally open weekdays 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. To drop-off or purchase, visitors must utilize the automated scale system, which includes weighing in and out.
Residents are allowed free drop-off of 1 cubic yard of material, per day. Between Oct. 2 and Dec. 15, 2023, residents are allowed unlimited drop off of leaves.
Using the new automated scale system
All material transactions (pickup and drop-off) require a vehicle to drive onto the scale. Wait to enter the inbound scale until clear of all vehicles.
Approach scale kiosk and using the directions, scan your Driver's License . Remember to choose the type of material you are picking up or dropping off, drop off yard trimmings or drop off food waste. Take the printed QR code ticket before leaving, as it is required to exit the outbound scale.
Follow the signs and proceed to the compost facility to drop-off or pickup of materials. If purchasing material, please visit the compost office inside the Compost Center after using the scale.
To leave, weigh out via the outbound scale. Wait to enter the outbound scale until clear of all vehicles. All material transactions (pickup and drop-off ) require vehicle to exit via scale.
Approach kiosk and scan QR ticket provided in step 2 during scale entry. Follow kiosk instructions and complete transaction.
Acceptable drop-off materials include:
- Grass, leaves, other vegetation – must be clean and free of brush/wood
- Mixed yard trimmings/brush/pallets (no plywood or OSB)
- Wood chips – must be clean
- Food waste
- Branches up to 6 inches in diameter
Materials for sale include:
- Natural wood mulch
- Pallet mulch
Payments may be made by check or credit card only. Please visit WeCare Denali, for current fees and pricing. No cash accepted.
Free wood chips
Free wood chips are available for residents at four locations around the city, while supplies last. Staff are not available to load or haul materials.
Locations for free wood chip pickup:
- Veterans Memorial Park.
- Southeast Area Park.
- Allmendinger Park.
- 721 N. Main Street.
Dealing with yard material at home
Check out our tips page for suggestions on how to deal with yard material and ideas for those who want to explore alternatives to disposing of compost material at the curb.