How to Properly Dispose of Yard Waste

13 May 2020

Dry season will soon be ending in Southwest Florida, meaning one thing: rain. With rain, comes great growth in our lawns and gardens. Yet many residents find that best practices for lawn waste disposal are not clear. We’d like to change that, and help our community become more sustainable so that it may continue to be vibrant for future generations. 

Lawn waste consists of grass clippings, leaves, palm fronds, tree branches, dead plants, fruit, etc. 

All lawn waste must be placed into a reusable bin or paper bag weighing 50 pounds or less. It may also be tied into bundles that are no heavier than 50 pounds and no longer than 6 feet.

Lawn waste placed in plastic bags must be separated from other lawn waste, and disposed as trash. In 2018, Lee County’s Solid Waste Division received 10,000 tons of yard waste in plastic bags, making the content unusable as mulch or compost. 

Best ways to dispose of lawn waste:

1. Reusable bins. They are long-lasting, durable, and low-cost as they alleviate the need for repurchasing bags to store waste. 

2. Paper bags. They are easy to obtain form local stores, are recyclable, biodegradable, and are able to be processed into mulch or compost

Once it has been collected, lawn waste has three potential pathways:

1. Mulch. It is shredded and distributed to five locations throughout the county where it is available to the public.

2. Compost. It can go to the Compost Production Facility. Here it becomes a component of OrganicLee® compost. OrganicLee® compost may be purchased at the Solid Waste Division.

3. Trash. Items that cannot be converted into mulch or compost are sent to the Waste-to-Energy Plant where it is burned to generate electricity; this is the ultimate destination for garbage at our facilities.

For more information on Lee County’s Solid Waste Division please visit leegov.com/solidwaste.

Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Coastal Watch creates and implements conservation initiatives that promote and improve the future of marine resources and, our coastal heritage. For more information about Coastal Watch, please visit sancapcoastalwatch.org or contact coastalwatch@sanibelseaschool.org.