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Dumping Yard Waste

Is it okay to put my yard waste in the natural area near my house?

Although yard waste is natural and will eventually decompose, it is not appropriate to place this material in any natural areas, including woodlots, ravines or fields. This includes everything from grass clippings and raked up leaves to twigs and branches. In general, these natural systems can only handle the nutrients and debris that they produce themselves. Any additional materials can overload the system.

Why is it a problem?

Dumping yard waste degrades the natural environment in several ways:

  • The debris will smother and kill native plants
  • Weed seeds can be introduced from garden waste
  • The disturbance created by the waste pile can provide a perfect habitat for many invasive, non-native species that thrive in disturbed areas
  • It is unsightly and decreases other people’s enjoyment of the area
  • By dumping your yard waste you can encourage others to do the same, creating even more disturbance
  • The piles can take years to decompose

Dumping yard waste onto municipally-owned lands is illegal and you can be fined!

Dumping Yard Waste
Yard waste smothers native bloodroot plants
Photo: S. Pernanen

Dumping Yard Waste
Invasive, non-native garlic mustard growing where yard waste has been dumped
Photo: S. Pernanen

What should I do with my yard waste?

Backyard composting
Much of the smaller yard waste that is created in an average-sized yard can be composted in one backyard composter (although two would be better if you have the space). The resulting compost is can be used to add nutrients to your garden or lawn, eliminating or decreasing the need for artificial fertilizers.

You may be able to purchase a composter from Durham Region at a reduced rate. They have also produced a number of fact sheets about how to compost properly. Call 905-579-5264 or 1 800-667-5671 for more information.

Yard Waste Pick-up
Most residences in the CLOCA jurisdiction have curbside yard waste pick-up available. For example, in 2005, households in Oshawa and Whitby will have biweekly pick-up from mid-April to mid-December. Durham Region picks up yard waste in Clarington, Ajax, Pickering and Scugog and these municipalities have varying dates for pick-up.


City of Pickering
Town of Ajax
Town of Whitby
City of Oshawa
Municipality of Clarington
Regional Municipality of Durham
Yard Waste Fact Sheet ?Ann Arbor, Michigan (PDF)


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