YardWaste Guide

Please call SOCRRA at 248-288-5150 for more information.

What is Yard Waste?
Yard Waste includes: grass clippings, leaves, spent flowers & garden plants, weeds, pine needles, pine cones, acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, apples, Halloween pumpkins, vines, twigs, branches and other woody material up to 2" in diameter. (Put woody yard waste between two inch (2") and five inches (5") in diameter propoerly prepared with regular refuse. (Refer to brush chipping guidelines.)

How do I prepare yard waste for collection?
Yard waste may be placed in 32-gallon trash cans, clearly labeled with a “yard waste” decal facing the street so it can be easily spotted for pickup. Free Yard waste decals are available at the DPS office on Campbell Rd and at City Hall. Yard waste may also be placed in a 30-gallon paper yard waste bag, available at most stores. Containers and bags cannot weigh more than 50 pounds each. Plastic bags are NOT acceptable.

Why must I separate these items?
Yard waste is banned from disposal in Michigan landfills. SOCRRA converts yard waste into compost, a useful nutrient rich soil amendment.

What about brush and branches larger than twigs?
Refer to brush clipping guidelines or below under “What is woody material?".

Is yard waste collected year-round?
No, weekly curbside collection is provided from April through mid-December.

What if I have yard waste when collection isn’t provided?
Royal Oak residents can bring up to 10 yard waste bags per day to the SOCRRA Transfer Station at 995 Coolidge in Troy at no charge from mid-December through March. No plastic bags. Please call SOCRRA at 248-288-5150 for more information.

Acceptable Containers: 20 to 32 gallon trash cans with a "yard waste" bumper sticker decal facing the street, or paper landscape bags (no decal on bags). Plastic bags are not allowed.

Yard Waste Will Not Be Picked Up If:

  • It is in an unacceptable container.
  • It has regular trash mixed in or woody material larger than 2" in diameter.
  • It weighs over 50 lbs or is a container larger than 32 gallons.
  • It is in a plastic bag. Plastic bags can no longer be used at any time for any yard waste.
  • The yard waste decal is not facing the street.

Once the problem is corrected, set yard waste at the curb for collection on your next pick-up/collection day.

Additional Recycling Program Information can be found at SOCRRA: www.socrra.org

Pick-up Starts
April 1

- Pay Tags are no longer needed -


Yard waste pick-up starts April 1st.

Spring Clean Up

  • Decal needed for can, free at municipal buildings. Decal MUST
    face the street.
  • No plastic bags.
  • Put yard waste in acceptable containers: either brown paper bag or 32 gallon container with decal. no pay tags required
  • Yard waste must be out by 7 a.m.
  • Do not mix trash with yard waste or it will be left at the curb.

Yard waste pick-up ends mid Dec.

Fall Clean Up

  • Continue to put yard waste in acceptable containers.
  • No plastic bags.
  • Yard Waste Pick-up ends mid  December.
  • Yard Waste in a limited amount (10 bags per day) may be taken to SOCRRA at no charge from mid-December through March. Yard waste in plastic bags will not be accepted at SOCRRA.

For leaves, use the City's Leaf Vacuum Program. Call 248-246-3300, press 5, then 1, for more information. Or check the City's website, WROK, or Insight Newsletter.

Yard waste pay tags are no longer needed.

What is woody material?
Residents must keep woody materials larger than 2" in diameter out of their separated yard waste. Woody materials do not decompose as fast as grass, leaves and the other "soft" materials and must be screened out of finished compost and landfilled, adding unnecessary costs to the program.

What is it? - Woody materials include: Tree branches, woody shrubs, bushes, and hedges.

How do I dispose of it? Put woody material between 2" and 5" in diameter with the regular refuse and set at curb by 7:00 a.m. on trash day. Tie brush securely into bundles up to 4' long X 15" diameter, not weighing more than 40 pounds, and set at curb. Logs over 5" in diameter must be disposed of privately.

To have brush between 1"-6" in diameter and between 4'-12' lengths chipped at the curb, call the City's recommended contractor for details and costs. The City's recommended contractor is:

J H Hart

How to Reduce Yard Waste

Grasscycling (Let clippings fall):

Use a mulching mower or retrofit your current mower with a mulching blade kit and let clips fall back into the lawn.

  • Adds nitrogen from clippings to the soil
  • Cuts fertilizer use by 30% or more.

Cut only 1/3 of grass blade at a time to promote root growth and shade out weeds. Deep roots help plants resist drought and disease.

Other Options

  • Add low-maintenance plant beds and groundcovers, slow-growth bushes, decks, walkways and borders to your yard to reduce lawn area.
  • Use Shredded leaves and grass clippings as mulches to control weeds, conserve moisture and reduce soil erosion:
    • place 1" to 2" layer on wet newspaper between vegetable/flower rows
    • sprinkle 1" layer around bushes, tree base
    • work into garden soil
  • Add shredded leaves and grass to your compost pile.
  • Shred leaves into lawn with mulching mower; adds nutrients and does not hurt the lawn.

Home Composting

Transform your yard waste into humus-rich compost. Use compost in the garden, with potted plants, as a topdressing for lawns, or as mulch around trees and shrubs.

Compost Benefits

  • Improves soil structure
  • Encourages root growth
  • Aerates & adds nutrients to the soil

Ideal Ratio

50% Leaves (carbon)
25% Grass (nitrogen)
25% Soil + Water

Ideal Composting Ratio

For free fact sheets on grasscycling, composting, and other yard waste reduction and healthy lawn and garden tips, call or write: SOCRRA, 3910 W. Webster Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073

Questions? Call (248)288-5150. You can also check here for information on Backyard Composting. Thank You!

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211 S Williams Street, Royal Oak MI, 48067, Ph. 248-246-3000