Your first impulse after raking your yard may be to toss all your leaves in the trash and send them to the landfill, but there are a few reasons why you should not do that.

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Is It Illegal To...

  • Place yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, brush, or other lawn material in your garbage can?
  • Have an open fire containing leaves, grass, garbage, building materials, business waste, or other prohibited materials?
  • Blow or place leaves and grass clippings in the street?

Doesn't seem like we should do any of the above mentioned, but are these things illegal?

two street cleaners sweeping leaves and garbage
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Consider What Happens When You Trash Your Leaves

  • Landfills are designed to store waste and prevent it from “escaping” into the surrounding environment. Once leaves enter a landfill, they’re there to stay.
  • Leaves placed in a landfill are mixed with other trash so they can’t be recycled or reused.
  • Leaves, along with other green waste, are uniquely valuable as recycled products or reused in the landscape (for example, as leaf mold or mulch).
  • Decayed leaves and garden waste make great compost, which is ideally designed to enrich the soil and provide energy for future tree growth.
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Soooo, It Is Illegal?

YES! In the state of Wisconsin, it is illegal to dispose of leaves in a landfill. After raking your leaves you must put them in a brown paper bag and purchase a sticker from the city that states the bag is full of leaves and must be recycled.

Pile of fall leaves with fan rake on lawn
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The Penalty

Leaves are materials that are recyclable. You, and the city, could be fined if you throw them in the landfill. SO DON'T DO IT!

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