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Sanitation Department - Yard Waste

Owensboro Sanitation Department

Your $12.00 monthly service fee includes yard waste collection. Leaf collection operates on a seasonal basis and is covered in that section. The purpose of city provided yard waste collection is to help keep our city clean from small fallen limbs, leaves and other yard waste. This service is not meant to replace tree trimmers and other professional services who cut and remove trees.


Yard waste is scheduled to be collected on the same day that your trash is collected.


Basic Service

Included in your basic service is the collection of; limbs (under 6 inches in diameter), shrubs (without root balls), brush, Christmas trees and other common yard trimmings (excluding grass). Collection includes up to one pickup truck sized load weekly. During leaf collection season (starting October 26th and ending as weather dictates, but not later than February 15th), yard waste collection ends as crews focus on leaf collection.

Advanced Service

For an additional charge, other items can be collected.

  • Grass must be bagged in plastic bags bearing a "grass sticker" for collection. Save landfill space and mulch your grass as an alternative. Stickers can be purchased at City Hall for $1.25 each.


Guide to Quality Service

To receive the best service possible, please follow these guidelines:

  • Have yard waste curbside by 6:00a.m. Once trucks pass through your neighborhood, they cannot return.
  • Limbs can be up to 30 feet in length but must be smaller than 6 inches in diameter to be collected; place "butt-ends" facing the street.
  • Loose yard waste (small trimmings, sticks and small shrubs) should be bagged, or placed in a separate can for collection.
  • No dirt of any kind can be collected; no root balls.
  • No contractor yard waste. Your service is limited to what you or your immediate family living at the residence have cut.  Home or property owner is responsible for ensuring removal of any yard waste cut by person(s) receiving compensation for trimming/cutting.
  • Please do not block collections with cars.
  • Limit bags and personal cans with yard waste to 30lbs.

Prohibited Items

Please remember that we do not collect contractor trimmings. No alley collections - our trucks are too big!

  • Lumber
  • Cement or rocks
  • Dirt of any kind
  • Grass (requires special sticker)

Christmas Trees

The Sanitation Department collects clean, natural, "undressed" trees beginning January 1. Please place trees curbside for collection.

Create Your Own Compost Pile

Click on the following link for more information:  http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

  You can create a compost pile in your backyard or indoors, depending on your available space. Backyard and indoor composting are most suitable for households to convert small quantities of organic materials, such as yard trimmings and food scraps, into compost that can be spread in garden beds, under shrubs, or use it as potting soil for outdoor plants.

 Before you begin composting, you should understand the composting process. View what materials to compost and what materials not to compost and read up on the science behind composting about which variables must be controlled during composting.

 All composting requires three basic ingredients:

  Browns—Includes materials such as dead leaves, branches , twigs

  Greens—Includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds


 Having the right amount of greens, browns, and water is important for compost development. Ideally, your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens and alternate layers of organic materials of different-size particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost and the green materials provide nitrogen, while the water provides moisture to help breakdown the organic matter.

 There is no one “right” way to compost, but you may want to follow one of the approaches below:

Backyard Composting Approach One1

 Helpful Composting Tools


  Square-point shovel or machete

  Water hose with a spray head

1.  Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.

2.  Add your brown and green materials as you collect them, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.

3.  Moisten dry materials as they are added.

4.  Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material.

5.  Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist.

6.  When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use (this is usually occurs in two months to two years).

Backyard Composting Approach Two1

1.  Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.

2.  Before you add your brown and green materials, make sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.

3.  Cover your composting area with a 6-inch layer of brown materials.

4.  Add a 3-inch layer of green materials and a little soil or finished compost.

5.  Lightly mix the two layers above.

6.  Top with a 3-inch layer of brown materials, adding water until moist.

7.  Turn your compost pile every week or two with a pitchfork to distribute air and moisture. Move the dry materials from the edges into the middle of the pile. Continue this practice until the pile does not re-heat much after turning.

8.  Your compost will be ready in one to four months, but let the pile sit for two weeks before using.

Indoor Composting

If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy or make yourself. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in 2 to 5 weeks.

Build Your Own Indoor Bin

1.  Drill 1/2-inch diameter holes in the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can.

2.  Place a brick in the bottom of a larger garbage can, surround the brick with a layer of wood chips or soil, and place the smaller can inside on top of the brick.

3.  Wrap insulation around the outer can to keep the compost warm and cover the cans with a lid.


What to Compost – The IN LIST 

   Animal ( cow or horse) manure                            Hay and straw

  Cardboard rolls                                                  Houseplants

  Clean paper                                                       Leaves

  Coffee grounds and filters                                    Nut shells

  Cotton rags                                                       Sawdust

  Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint                             Shredded newspaper

  Eggshells                                                          Tea bags

  Fireplace ashes                                                 Wood chips

  Fruits and vegetables                                         Wool rags

  Grass clippings                                                  Yard trimmings

  Hair and fur

What Not to Compost – The OUT List 

Leave Out/Reason Why

  Black walnut tree leaves or twigs/Releases substances that might be harmful to plants

  Coal or charcoal ash/Might contain substances harmful to plants

  Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs/Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies

  Diseased or insect-ridden plants/Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants

  Fats, grease, lard, or oils/Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies

  Meat or fish bones and scraps/Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies

  Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)/Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans

  Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides/Might kill beneficial composting organisms


1A Green Guide to Yard Waste. Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. 2001.