Yard Waste Collection Program 


Is yard waste recycling optional?

Participation in yard waste recycling is not optional and all yard waste will need to be placed in the appropriate bags mentioned above.

When is my yard waste collected?

Yard waste will only be collected once a week on your regularly scheduled recycle day. For example, if your curbside recycling day is Monday, then your yard waste will be collected on Monday as well. For residents who use a yard maintenance service, this may require you to reschedule or change the service day to coincide with the new collection day.

What types of bags are acceptable and where can I buy them?

All yard waste is required to be bagged in either kraft paper bags or compostable plastic bags. Non-compostable bags are not accepted. Both types of bags (kraft paper and compostable plastic) are available at: Grocery stores: Kroger, Randalls, HEB, Costco, Sam's Club.

Hardware/Home Improvement Stores: ACE, True Value, Home Depot, Lowe's, Berings, Living Earth.

Online retailers: Amazon and certain retailers mentioned above.

For residents that use a yard service company that does work within the City of Houston city limits, chances are they are already using the compostable bags as required by Houston.

What is a compostable bag?

Compostable bags include kraft paper bags or compostable plastic bags. Compostable plastic bags are usually clear or tinted a translucent shade of green, white, or pink; however, the color is not the sure way of determining the compostability of a plastic bag. Some bags marked "biodegradable" and "degradable are not accepted as they may not be compostable.

Kraft paper bags are the usually large brown paper bags that may indicate yard waste, lawn and leaf on the package or on the bag itself. Smaller paper bags from grocery stores may also be used.

How can I tell the difference between a compostable plastic bag and a traditional black plastic bag?

Look for the word "COMPOSTABLE" on the box. The words "lawn and leaf" or "yard waste" that may appear on the plastic bag packages do not guarantee that the bag is compostable and acceptable to use.

The following logos for certified compostable plastic mean that the bags are acceptable: Biodegradable Products Institute COH Compostable logo

Are all paper bags compostable?

Most paper yard waste bags or grocery store bags are compostable. Paper bags that contain any type of film (i.e Kohl's, etc.) are not easily composted, therefore are not accepted.

yard waste paper bag

(Pictured is a typical type of a paper yard waste bag.)

Can I mix yard waste with other items like trash or recyclables?

Yard waste mixed with trash, recyclables or other materials that are not yard waste is not accepted. Mixing causes the material to be contaminated and is unacceptable for compost processing. Yard waste mixed with trash or recyclables will subject to a special collection fee.

What if I chose not to bag my yard waste?

There are several free alternatives to purchasing compostable bags. Residents may leave their lawn clippings on their lawn (grasscycling) or compost their trimmings for use in their yard. Yard waste cannot be thrown away with trash or left curbside in loose piles or plastic containers as it will not be collected.

What is considered yard waste and what are the placement requirements?

There is no change from what was previously collected; but in order for yard waste to be collected curbside, yard waste must meet the following criteria:

  • Yard waste must be placed curbside within ten (10) feet of your driveway (not in street or gutter)
  • Leaves, grass clippings, small tree, and hedge trimmings should be bagged (paper or compostable plastic)
  • Yard Waste bags cannot exceed 40 pounds (special collection fee will apply for bags over 40 pounds).
  • Tree trimmings, limbs, and hedge cuttings
  • limited to four (4) feet in length and a diameter of three (3) inches or less
  • To avoid special collection fees for tree trimmings, limbs, and hedge cuttings
8 feet4 feet3 feet

Not Accepted with Yard Waste – 

  • Trash or other material that is not yard waste
  • Any tree trimming or limb over 3 inches in diameter (larger size causes problems with composting and mulch) and may damage city equipment
  • Tree removal residue – tree removal company is responsible for removal
  • Non-bagged piles of leaves or grass
  • Yard waste material in non-compostable bags

For more information, email or call Public Works at 713.662.5839.