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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It Is 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.

But why are these things illegal?

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It is Illegal To Trash Your Leaves Because...

  • 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 Illinois, 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.

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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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