Yard waste

Spring yard waste collection will begin on Monday, March 18.

Due to volume we may be behind with yard waste pickup. Please leave yard waste out for collection and it will be picked up as soon as possible.

Yard waste is collected on your grey cart collection day between spring and fall. Be the first to know when yard waste collection starts by downloading the Guelph Waste App or using the Waste Wizard to sign up for notifications.

Preparing yard waste for collection

Picture of waste bin, 24 to 30 inches tall, 44 pounds or 20 kilograms weight maximum

  • Put it in yard waste paper bags or containers clearly labeled “yard waste”. We won’t collect yard waste in plastic bags.
  • Visit 110 Dunlop Drive to pick up a yard waste sticker to label your reusable containers.
  • Yard waste containers must have two handles and a lid, be less than 100 litres, and between 24 to 30 inches in height.
  • Bundle and tie up brush, branches and tree limbs using string or twine (no plastic or metal). Make sure bundles are no larger than one metre (3 feet) long by 0.6 metres (2 feet) wide.
  • Make sure each bundle, bag or container of yard waste weighs less than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) – about the same weight as seven bricks.
  • Check that your yard waste isn’t spilling over the curb. Place yard waste bags and bundles within 0.3 metres (1 foot) of the curb, and one metre (3 feet) away from your waste carts.
  • Place your yard waste to the curb no later than 6:30 a.m. on your grey cart collection day.

Yard waste includes

  • Leaves
  • Shrub and hedge trimmings
  • Woody plants (including vines, rose bushes)
  • Brush, branches, and tree limbs with a diameter less than 5 cm (2 inches)
  • Trimmings from flower and vegetable gardens

Yard waste does not include

  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Stones
  • Household waste
  • Grass clippings – just leave them on the lawn

Don’t put yard waste in any of your carts.

Manage yard waste on your property

Leave grass clippings on the lawn. They act like natural fertilizer adding nutrients to the soil as they decompose.

Mulched leaves make great fertilizer too. Instead of raking and bagging leaves each fall, mow over them and leave them on the lawn.

Drop it off

You can bring yard waste and grass clippings to Guelph’s Waste Resource Innovation Centre all year round for a minimum fee of $10.

How to dispose of invasive plants or infested wood

Follow the links for what to do with:

For more information

Solid Waste Resources
TTY: 519-826-9771
[email protected]

Frequently asked questions

Why has the City increased yard waste collection frequency?

We heard from Guelph residents that they needed more frequent yard waste collection through the 2018 Waste Management By-law update surveys – 43 per cent of phone survey respondents, and 17 per cent of online survey respondents agreed to the need for increasing yard waste collection frequency.

The City piloted an increased yard waste collection frequency in 2020 in response to COVID-19 pandemic and received positive feedback from residents.

One packer (truck) of yard waste is equivalent to approximately 100 car loads of yard waste. By offering yard waste collection more frequently, we expect to reduce public drop-off traffic by 50,000 vehicles this year, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 200 CO2e and allowing us to be more efficient in serving customers at the drop off.

Additionally, yard waste collected at the curb is not processed at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre like your green cart organics are. Yard waste takes much longer to decompose than the food waste you put in your green cart. Yard waste collected at the curb is composted efficiently using windrows, further reducing the City’s environmental footprint.

Why did the City start yard waste so early? Isn’t that bad for the environment (insects and pollinators)?

We started collecting at the curb early to help reduce the amount of traffic using the public waste drop off. Last year (2020) in early March, over 1,500 vehicles dropped off yard waste at the public drop off. By offering it early, we’ve already been able to reduce this number to just over 450 vehicles dropping off yard waste in early March – that’s more than half!

Not all yard waste is waste! The City encourages residents to leave their yard waste on the lawn for as long as they can. Leaves and grass clippings add nutrients to your soil, reduce your lawn watering needs and help our local insects and bees – who hibernate and nest in the leaves until it’s warmer.

Why is the City charging $10 to drop off yard waste at the public drop off?

By introducing a minimum $10 fee, we’re able to offset the associated costs of having more frequent yard waste collection with a $0 net impact to the tax base from this service level increase.

Why can’t I put yard waste in my green cart anymore?

Green cart organics are processed differently than yard waste. Green cart organics are brought to our organic waste processing facility where it’s composted and sold to third-party companies like gardeners, landscapers and greenhouses. Yard waste takes longer to decompose than food waste, and is composted in outdoor windrows by a third party processor and used in their lawn care products.

Why can houseplants go in my green cart but not yard waste?

The small volume of houseplants and floral arrangements from residents are acceptable in the green cart and can easily be handled by Guelph’s Organic Waste Processing Facility. For comparison, the amount of yard waste that entered our site in May of 2022 was 920 metric tonnes, whereas all the green cart material for the whole city was 930 metric tonnes for the same time frame, only 1.1% more material. Yard waste would almost double the amount of material coming into the Organic Waste Processing Facility.

Here’s an easy way to remember: if greenery is coming from inside your home, it goes in the green cart! If greenery is coming from outside your home (your lawn or yard), it is yard waste. Still have questions? Download the City’s Waste App or use the Waste Wizard at guelph.ca/waste.

Who gets their yard waste collected at the curb?

Yard waste collection is for Guelph residents of single family homes and multi-residential properties that are currently receiving City waste collection.

My yard waste hasn’t been collected, what do I do?

Yard waste collection trucks may not collect your yard waste at the same time as your grey cart. Please make sure your yard waste is at the curb by 6:30 a.m. on your grey cart collection day and leave it at the curb until it’s picked up. If it’s not picked up by the end of the day, get in touch with our Solid Waste Resources team by phone 519-767-0598 or email [email protected].