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Frequently Asked Questions

Yard Waste Related Questions

When do I get leaf and yard waste collection?

Leaf and yard waste collection varies by municipality.Click here to find out your yard waste collection schedule.

Place your yard waste in kraft paper yard waste bags or clearly labelled rigid open-top reusable containers. Yard waste set out in plastic bags will not be collected.

Securely tie brush bundles up to 1 meter (3 feet) in length and 76 centimetres (30 inches) in width, weighing no more then 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

Brush and tree trimmings must be 10 centimetres (4 inches) or less in diameter.

Grass clippings are banned from all collections. Please leave grass clippings on your lawn or place in your backyard composter.

See more information on leaf and yard waste collection.

Why doesn’t the Region collect grass clippings?

Durham stopped collecting grass clippings in 2004 in order to coincide with province-wide initiatives designed to reduce lawn watering, while improving groundwater quality, through reduced use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Since that time, the Region of Durham has actively promoted “Grasscycling” to its residents.

What do I do with my grass clippings?

Leave your grass on the lawn to naturally compost into the lawn. “Grasscycling” saves time, reduces waste and leads to a deeper, healthier root system that increases the lawns resistance to disease, drought, and insects.

There are four good reasons to “Grasscycle”:

  1. Grasscycling improves lawn quality because grass clippings are a natural fertilizer. Valuable nutrients are released back into the soil when grass clippings are allowed to decay naturally.
  2. Thick healthy lawns are resistant to weeds and pests which reduces the need for chemical herbicides and pesticides. Less chemical fertilizers and pesticides that leach from lawns means less groundwater pollution. Leaching fertilizers and pesticides from lawns are the leading contributor to groundwater pollution in urban areas.
  3. Grass clippings left on a lawn also act as mulch, which helps to control soil temperature, retain moisture, and reduce the need for watering.
  4. Grasscycling saves time, work and expense. It eliminates the need to rake, buy bags, or to bag grass clippings. All lawn mowers can grasscycle and are able to mulch grass naturally.

While grass clippings are not collected in Durham's leaf and yard waste collection, thatch from spring clean ups is acceptable.

For further grasscycling information, visit Green Tips: Six good reasons to grasscycle from the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

Where do I put sod when I’m removing it to create a new garden?

The removal of sod may not be necessary if you plan early enough for a new garden bed. Lay out the dimensions of the garden. Use a simple dark tarp (preferably a black tarp) on top of the sod where you wish to create the new garden. Weight down the tarp around the perimeter, using rocks or wood, and leave the tarp down for at least a week or two to naturally kill off the grass. Remove the tarp and leave the top soil layer. The bed is ready to cultivate, but you may wish to spray it with an organic weed killer, or apply boiling water or vinegar to kill off any additional grass. Using a rototiller or garden fork, turn and break up the soil. Then, add compost and other soil additive like peat moss to enrich the new beds.

If you simply remove sod, it can be left in a corner of your yard to compost naturally before being reapplied as top soil. Note that the spreading of weed seeds could be a problem and will require occasional weed removal from the pile. The weeds can be collected for Yard Waste.

A final option is to look for individuals who are looking for "clean fill" or a landscape business who could use the material. Private businesses also offer large waste collection bins, and will charge for the removal of this material. Check the yellow pages for a list of companies offering this service.

Where do I dispose of unwanted soil?

Soil from residential property is not collected at the curb. It can be brought to a Waste Management Facility, where a tipping fee will be charged, or look in the yellow pages to locate a private waste collection company for information regarding the rental of disposal bins.

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