Keep Our Rivers, Lakes, Ponds, and Streams Clean: Bag Your Leaves!

  • How to Dispose of Leaf Bags & Barrels

  • The Importance of Leaf Cleanup

Storm drain beginning to be clogged with leaves

Leaf Bags and Barrels

All yard waste must be put out in paper bags or barrels on your trash day during yard waste collection weeks. If you use barrels, you must label them with a "Yard Waste Only" Sticker. These stickers are available free of charge from the DPW Building (1 Franey Rd.) and the Constituent Services/311 desk at the entrance of City Hall (93 Highland Ave.). We can even mail you the stickers if you call 311 (617-666-3311 outside of Somerville) or email us here. Just let us know how many you would like and where to send them.

Yard waste may also be dropped off year-round at the DPW Yard at 1 Franey Rd., Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bushes and tree limbs must be cut and tied in bundles that are not more than 3 feet in length for both pick-up and drop-off.

Please note:

  • Dirt, rocks, and grass are not allowed in leaf bags or barrels
    • Bags containing these materials will not be picked up
  • Missed pickups must be reported no later than 3:45 p.m. the following calendar day
  • Plastic bags will not be accepted
  • Bushes and tree limbs must be cut and tied in bundles that are no more than 3 feet by 3 feet

If you have any questions, please call 311 (617-666-3311 outside of Somerville). Thank you!

Where Can I Buy Leaf Bags?

Leaf bags can be purchased at many grocery stores and hardware stores during the fall. Leaf bag availability can fluctuate in the height of leaf season, so it's a good idea to call before you visit.

Bag or compost your leaves, but do not rake them into the street or dump them down storm drains! Blocking storm drains can cause flooding, and large amounts of leaves in our water can lead to an excess of decaying organic material in waterways with results that are harmful to both humans and animals.

Why do leaves cause water pollution?

Left on land, leaves decompose, feeding your plants and enriching your soil. But when large amounts of leaves are washed off our lawns, down our driveways, into storm drains, and into our water bodies –– they release phosphorus and nitrogen into our water, contributing to water pollution. These elevated levels of nutrients in our water:

  • Cause “blue-green algae”, or cyanobacteria blooms, which are toxic to both humans and wildlife and are considered a public health hazard
  • Kill fish through the depletion of oxygen in the water, called “eutrophication”
  • Cause the growth of large amounts of algae and invasive plants, choking up the waterway

What Can YOU Do to Keep Leaves Out of Storm Drains, Rivers, Lakes, and Ponds?

  • Bag your leaves for curbside yard waste collection (or drop them off at the DPW Yard at 1 Franey Rd.)
  • Mix your leaves into your compost pile, creating a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants
  • Use a mulching mower and create mulch from your leaves to use in flower beds