Downtown Springfield Association
Guest Posts

With fall comes leaf-raking season. Here’s what to do with all the leaves in your yard.

October 12, 2023

Story brought to you from Ozarks Headwaters Recycling and Materials Management District

Fall is finally here: I can tell because everyone’s allergies are acting up. There’s pumpkin spice occupying every supermarket’s shelves. And soon my yard will be waist-deep in dead leaves.

Americans call it “fall” because of the breathtaking sights we see every autumn thanks to the deciduous trees that are denser here than anywhere else in the world. With the gorgeous yellows, oranges and reds that signal the beginning of cooler weather comes hours upon hours of hard work: raking them all up.

If you’re anything like my family, you spend every fall racing against your trees. At my childhood home in south Springfield, thousands of leaves create an awe-inspiring orchestra of color. It’s beautiful … until they fall down and blow into my neighbors’ yards.

If you plan to rake up fallen leaves in your yard this year, remember to dispose of them responsibly. Don’t put leaves, lawn clippings or fallen branches in your curbside trash cans. Yardwaste is banned from landfills, per state law. The City of Springfield Environmental Services says to never burn leaves, either.

Yard waste doesn’t belong in the landfill, where it only takes up valuable space and would do more good when it’s composted or mulched.

The City’s Yardwaste Recycling Center is a valuable resource for residents who need a place to put leaves each fall. The YRC, just west of Springfield in Brookline, has a drop-off facility for grass clippings, leaves, garden and flower bed vegetation at no charge to residents.

Before your trip to the YRC, review these rules:

  1. Don’t bring lumber, rocks or dirt.

  2. Don’t bring limbs larger than 4 feet in length.

  3. Don’t bring limbs greater than 6 inches in diameter.

  4. Remove material from bags and boxes.

  5. Brush that’s already chipped is accepted but may be subject to a small fee.

  6. Residents must pay per unit for bulk brush disposal. Find out more about pricing on the City’s website.

  7. The YRC accepts cash and check only.

What happens to my yard waste after I’ve dropped it off?

The YRC has specially designed equipment on-site to grind your leaves, grass clippings and sticks into uniformly sized chunks to create compost and mulch products, which are then sold back to consumers.

According to the City’s website, the compost and mulch products MOPOST and MOMULCH are generally more affordable than their commercially produced counterparts. Plus, the revenue from the compost and mulch sales go back to the Solid waste Enterprise Fund, which supports waste management and environmental education efforts in the area.

Residents can purchase MOPOST or MOMULCH in bulk or in bags at the YRC or in bags at the Lone Pine Recycling Center in southeast Springfield.

The YRC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on most major holidays.

About the Author 

Diana Dudenhoeffer is a multimedia journalist from Springfield, Missouri. She studied journalism, sustainability and documentary storytelling at Missouri State University. She was the media intern at OHRD at the time of original publication, writing blogposts like this one.


Featured image and social media promo credit: Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash.