The City of Charlotte on Wednesday announced a paper bag mandate requiring residents who receive city collection to use compostable paper bags or reusable personal containers weighing no more than 75 pounds for yard waste collection. Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings, small limbs and brush. The mandate will begin on Monday, July 5, 2021.
Reasons for the change
Environmental impacts of the disposal of plastic bags, as well as operational efficiency, were factors in this change.
It takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose at the landfill, and the effects of plastic bags last 10 times as long. Comparatively, it takes paper bags no more than one month to decompose.
Since fiscal year 2016, yard waste tonnage has increased by 30 percent. In addition, the yard waste disposal facility does not accept yard waste in plastic bags. This requires Solid Waste staff to debag leaves at the curb, which increases collection times and makes it difficult to complete routes on the scheduled day of collection.
Eliminating single-use, plastic yard waste bags will allow Solid Waste Services to decrease the amount of time required to provide service at each home.
What residents can expect beginning July 5
Beginning July 5, Solid Waste Services will no longer accept yard waste in plastic bags. If residents use plastic bags after this date, Solid Waste Services will leave a note reminding them of the change and provide a one-time courtesy collection. If residents continue to use plastic bags, they could be subject to a minimum $150 fine per the Charlotte City Code.
Residents also have the option of disposing of yard waste by taking the items, in paper bags or reusable containers, to one of the four Mecklenburg County
full-service recycling centers. Fees may be charged when disposing at the full-service centers.
Where can paper bags and containers be purchased
Paper yard bags and reusable personal containers can be purchased at local discount, hardware and home improvement stores. Only compostable, paper 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.
In addition to local stores, beginning July 5, there will be a limited supply of paper bags available for pick up, at no cost, at the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services’ office (1105 Otts Street) and any of the
Mecklenburg County full-service recycling centers.
For more information on the mandate, please visit