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Municipalities with a population greater than 5,000 (mandated municipalities) are required to offer collection programs for “Leaf Waste.” Pennsylvania defines Leaf Waste as leaves, garden residues, shrubbery and tree trimmings, and similar material, but not including grass clippings. The reason grass clippings are not included is because grass gives off odors in the form of Ammonia if not properly managed. Facilities that accept grass clippings require a special, more stringent permit. Consequently, these facilities are not as common as Leaf Waste composting facilities.
Burning leaf and yard waste is illegal in mandated municipalities. For other municipalities, burning leaves is a violation of the Clean Air Act because of the harmful emissions and nuisance created from the smoke.
Yard waste blown or dumped into the street can block culverts and storm drains causing flooding and other issues. Chemical residues from yard waste fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides can also make their way into our waterways through improperly managed yard debris. Residents have several options for dealing with yard waste.
To reduce the amount of material going to landfills, several municipalities in Northampton County have constructed and operate yard waste facilities. Typically, municipal crews collect leaves and brush within the municipality on a seasonal basis and bring the materials to their yard waste facility for processing. Residents are also permitted to drop off these materials at the facility during posted hours of operation. Leaves are placed in windrows and allowed to compost.
The brushy material is ground into a wood mulch and allowed to cure. The resulting compost and wood mulch is then made available to the residents, thus completing the recycling loop. Most municipal yard waste programs are restricted to residents-only. If you are interested in what your municipality has to offer, contact them directly for information.
Please note: There may be fees associated with using municipal programs/sites to offset operating costs.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Section 902 Recycling Grants, offer support to qualifying municipalities to assist in creating and/or maintaining municipal yard waste programs and equipment.
Municipal Yard Waste Drop-Off Locations Spotted Lantern Fly: Tips for Handling Yard Waste in Quarantined Areas
Northampton County residents and businesses can drop off yard waste at: First Regional Compost Authority, located at 6701 Weaversville Rd., Northampton 18067. Fees apply. Questions: 610-262-1000Mulch can be taken at no cost.
Please note: Some municipalities have an agreement with FRCA, offering satellite drop-off sites for residents. Contact your municipality for more information. By special permit, residents can take grass clippings to the FRCA Weaversville Road location.
● Collection, transport, and disposal of yard waste is costly. ● Bagging clippings removes valuable nutrients from soils. Grasscycling reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Too much fertilizer can weaken the lawn by causing a shallow root system to develop. When using fertilizers, apply small amounts only two or three times during the growing season (mid to late May and early to mid-September are best in the Northeast region).
• If only a few leaves are on your lawn, mow them as you cut the grass. This will not harm your turf, but will provide assistance in maintaining moisture. • Large amounts of leaves can also be mowed and either picked up by a mower bag and placed in leaf bags or stored if being used for compost.
Fall Leaves: What To Do With Them Guide