Leaf season starts Nov. 1. Does it affect organics recycling?

Every year during Sacramento’s leaf season, which begins Nov. 1 and ends in late January, City residents can pile excess yard waste in the street for collection by “the Claw” tractor.

The Claw and accompanying rear-loader truck will make at least seven collections for each home, collecting up to 20,000 tons of material in one season.

However, the most notable feature of this upcoming leaf season is not the pile or the return of the Claw, but the organics container that is collected weekly.

The City in July began recycling all organic material, including food waste. What was once a yard waste container is now the “organics” container, used to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper along with leaves, branches, grass clippings and other organic yard waste.

“This year brought a huge change to our collection program with the recycling of all organic waste, and we want to remind customers that leaf season really hasn’t changed,” said Jesa David, public information officer for the City’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division. “Food scraps and food-soiled paper should only go in the organics bin. And as always, pet waste goes in the garbage.”

Customers are strongly urged to fill up the organics container first for weekly collection before piling any leaves. During the heaviest leaf drop, the weekly organics collection may occur two or three times between Claw pickups, so using organics containers to their full capacity each week is vital to help keep leaves off the street.

New to leaf season or want a refresher? Please see some frequently asked questions below.

Who can put yard waste in the street?

Residents who are City of Sacramento Recycling and Solid Waste customers with a home on a public street can put out a pile for collection. Please do not put any food waste or food-soiled paper in leaf piles on the street.

How do I know if I get the service?

Check out the Collection Calendar, and if a leaf season schedule appears at your address, your property receives the service. Check the calendar frequently, as the day of collection will shift depending on how quickly our operators can move material off the streets.

Who cannot put yard waste in the street?

Residents who live on a private street do not receive leaf season services but will continue to receive weekly containerized organics collection. Residents in apartment buildings of five units or more and commercial properties are not City customers and are not permitted to put out piles.

How do I make a pile for collection?

Piles should be placed six feet from any obstructions, allowing space for water to flow to storm drains. Piles may not be larger than four feet by four feet by nine feet (4’ x 4’ x 9’) per household, and branches should be cut to no more than three feet in length and four inches in diameter (3’ x 4”). Tree stumps are not allowed in piles. Please keep piles out of bike lanes.

More information can be found at SacLeafSmart.org.

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