Yard Waste Collection

Paper Bag Mandate FAQ


  • Solid Waste Services is no longer collecting any plastic bags for disposal of yard waste, including compostable plastic yard waste bags.

  • Starting Monday, July 5, residents must use paper yard waste bags or reusable containers weighing no more than 75 pounds for their yard waste.

The Queen City is going green:

The City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services is making changes to improve service and protect the health of the community!

Solid Waste Services is protecting the environment, improving operational efficiency of the yard waste collection program and protecting employee and resident health by eliminating the use of plastic bags for yard waste disposal.

Beginning July 5, residents that receive city collection will be required to use paper yard waste bags or reusable containers weighing no more than 75 pounds for yard waste collection.

​Single-use plastic, such as plastic yard waste bags, create numerous environmental problems. Single-use plastic creates more than 8 million tons of waste in the ocean every year and emits toxic and poisonous gases into the atmosphere, damaging our ecosystem and causing both climate change and health issues. Conversely, paper bags are extracted from unbleached, recycled brown kraft paper, which saves natural resources and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to environmental concerns, plastic yard waste bags create operational issues, including preventing the collection of materials on scheduled days of collection and keeping employees from social distancing. Eliminating single-use, plastic yard waste bags will allow Solid Waste Services to make operational changes to the collection program that will:

  • Decrease the amount of time required to provide service at each home. Since fiscal year 2016, the amount of yard waste collected by Solid Waste Services’ crews has increased nearly 30 percent. The large amounts of yard waste at the curb also increases the time that crews are at a stop. In addition to the large quantity of yard waste, the yard waste disposal facility does not accept yard waste in plastic bags. This requires Solid Waste Services’ staff to debag leaves at the curb, which increases collection times and makes it difficult to complete routes on the scheduled day of collection.

  • Reduce employees’ exposure to COVID-19. The elimination of plastic bags will reduce collection time during the workday and the number of employees in the truck cab, increasing the health and safety of Solid Waste Services’ employees.

Solid Waste Services will be sending information to homes regarding the change. Residents can expect this communication to come via a door hanger that will be placed on the front door.

If residents don’t receive a doorhanger by June 30, they can call 311 and have the information delivered to their home.

Residents can watch the Government Channel and local news outlets and follow Solid Waste Services on social media (see links below) for continuous updates.

When setting out yard waste for collection, use paper yard waste bags or reusable containers weighing no more than 75 pounds. Starting July 5, Solid Waste Services will no longer accept yard waste in plastic bags.

If residents continue to use plastic bags, they could be subject to a minimum $150 fine per the Charlotte City Code.

​Paper yard bags and reusable containers can be purchased at local discount, hardware and home improvement stores. Yard waste bags will be accepted. Compostable plastic bags are not accepted as they are not accepted by the yard waste disposal site because they compromise the integrity of the compost product.

​Residents can place grass and grass clippings, leaves, flowers, small pruning, limbs and twigs in paper bags. Yard waste does not include dirt, mulch, and rocks.

Residents are advised to place properly prepared yard waste at the curb on their collection day in paper yard waste bags or reusable plastic containers that weigh no more than 75 pounds. Residents are allowed to have as many paper bags or reusable containers as needed. Yard waste will not be collected in tarps.

Preparing yard waste for collection is as easy as 5,4,3,2,1!

  • 5 | Tree limbs should be no longer than five feet in length.

  • 4 | Limbs and loose debris should be no larger than four inches in diameter.

  • 3 | Each yard waste pile should be no higher than three feet and separated by type: leaves, limbs and loose debris. Piles should also be three feet from other objects.

  • 2 | Yard waste piles should be two feet apart from each other.

  • 1 | When yard waste is prepared properly it makes for one easy collection for Solid Waste Services collection staff.

Yard Waste

Yard waste is collected from the curb once a week on your scheduled collection day provided the materials meet preparation requirements. Yard waste is made into mulch and compost for reuse.

How To Prepare Yard Waste For Collection:

  • Place yard waste at the curb by 6:00 am on your scheduled collection day.

  • Place yard waste within six feet of the curb and at least three feet away from other collection items (including other yard waste) and obstacles such as mailboxes, phone poles and vehicles, etc. Do not block the sidewalk.

  • Please place yard waste at the curb no sooner than the day before collection. A minimum $150 citation may be issued if you place yard waste at the curb sooner than the day before collection.

  • Please do not blow yard waste into the street.

Note: Residents must use paper yard waste bags or reusable containers weighing no more than 75 pounds when preparing leaves and grass clippings for yard waste collection. Loose debris (i.e. limbs and branches) will be collected. Residents can pick up bags at 1200 Otts Street Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - noon and 1-3:30 p.m. while supplies last.


  • Brush should be no longer than five feet in length and four inches in diameter.

  • Separate brush into piles that are no longer than five feet long and three feet high. There should be two feet in between each pile.


  • Limbs must be no longer than five feet in length and no larger than four inches in diameter.

  • Limbs should be separated in piles that are no longer than five feet long and three feet high. There should be two feet in between each pile.

  • Limbs should not be tied.

  • Limbs may be placed in containers for collection.


  • Logs must be under four inches in diameter

  • Tree stumps will not be collected.

Prefer to Use Grass Clippings for Mulch?

Leaving grass clipping on the lawn after mowing ensures that nutrients will be returned to the soil. Grass clippings are 20-30% protein and usually contain about 4% nitrogen, 2% potassium and 0.5% phosphorus as well as all the necessary trace elements plants need.

When leaving clippings on the lawn, adjust your lawn mower to remove no more than one third of the grass leaf surface at any one mowing. Any mower can be used, but one that mulches as it cuts is best. Use a slow-release fertilizer, water when necessary, and mow the grass at the proper height.