Yard Waste Project

City of Charlotte is distributing leaf bags during the 2019 leaf season way to:

  • Increase operational efficiency 
  • Decrease operation costs by reducing overtime and worker's compensation claims
  • Improve employee morale

Leaf season is the time of year when most leaves fall from trees in the Charlotte area, usually between October and January.

Using the leaf bags will help Solid Waste Services address several challenges, which are noted below:

  • Mecklenburg County doesn't accept yard waste in plastic bags. The plastic bags compromise the quality of the mulch and compost product; therefore, yard waste must be removed from the plastic bags before being taken to their facility. 
  • Plastic bags cause strain on our collection crews. Collection workers are getting hurt because of the heavy material placed at the curb. Yard waste collection workers make up almost one third of the workers' compensation claims for Solid Waste Services. 
  • Debagging at the curb increases the collection time. During leaf season it's hard to debag the amount of leaves that are set out for collection and complete the routes on time on the scheduled day of collection.  
  • There has been an increase in leaves and grass clippings at the curb for collection. Since fiscal year 2016, the amount of yard waste collected by Solid Waste crews has increased nearly 30 percent.
  • Collection costs have increased over the years.  Collection costs for yard waste have increased over the years because we pay a $6.50/ton premium for the opportunity to take bagged leaves to another County facility to debag leaves. For several years during leaf season we've been able to throw the leaves in plastic bags on the truck and take them to a facility to be debagged by temporary workers. The addition of the temporary workers and the premium paid for the opportunity to use the other facility are increased costs to collection. Additionally, the debagging location is on property owned by the airport and will soon be used to expand the airport runway, leaving us with no place to debag leaves. 

This video further explains the challenges associated with our current yard waste collection system. Use the password cltsolidwaste to view the video.

What if I have a contractor maintaining my lawn?
If you have a contractor maintaining your lawn, please share this letter with them.
Letter to Contractor for Yard Waste Pilot.pdf

How can residents get free paper lawn bags? Free paper lawn bags are available at the following locations : 

  • Full Service Centers                                                         
    North Mecklenburg Recycling & Yard Waste               
    12300 N. Statesville Road                                               
  • Compost Central & Recycling Center                           
    140 Valleydale Road                                          
  • Hickory Grove Recycling & Yard Waste                         
    8007 Pence Road                  
  • Foxhole Recycling & Yard Waste                                   
    17131 Lancaster Hwy.                                                       

How do I give feedback on my experience with the paper lawn bags?
If you want to give feedback on the yard waste bags, please use this contact form.

Get the answers to how to properly prepare all your materials for collection by using our Waste Wizard

Photos below show improper yard waste item preparation. The improper preparation causes delays in service and increased operational cost and increased potential for employee injuries.