Yard Waste

Definition of Yard Waste:  Grass, leaves and brush (i.e., small branches, twigs) from general yard maintenance.  Yard waste does not include materials generated by tree removal, land clearing or home renovation projects.

Leaf and wood mulch is available, free of charge, to Fairfax County residents.
Availability varies, so please call first to check on current supply.

How to Manage this Material

  • Leave it at home: Compost and/or grasscycle and reap the benefits!
  • Set it at the curb: Place leaves, grass or brush in a separate container (reusable container, paper bag or clear plastic bag). Brush can be tied in a bundle that is four feet or less.
  • Transport it: Take yard waste to the I-66 Transfer Station or I-95 Complex. There is a small fee to process these materials.


  • Leaves, grass and brush are collected at the curb all year long.
  •       They are recycled March 1 - Dec. 24.
          They may be disposed of as trash Dec. 25 - Feb.
  • Christmas trees are collected separately during the first two weeks of January.

More Information

Are some set out containers more environmentally-friendly than others?

Yes! A reusable container or brown paper bag is best. They will not add contaminants to the leaves and grass when composted.  Clear plastic bags cause equipment problems at the yard waste processing facility and are difficult to remove.  Never use dark plastic bags. Yard waste in dark bags will likely be treated as trash and not recycled.

Why is brush limited to small twigs and branches?

Brush collected in Fairfax County is shred into mulch.  Larger material (e.g., stumps, logs) can damage the county's shredding equipment. 

How can I have a large amount of brush picked up from my curb?
Why should I recycle yard waste?

Recycling yard waste is important because it reduces the amount of material destined for disposal.  In an average year, about 200,000* tons of yard waste is recycled in Fairfax County.  In addition, the byproducts of yard waste recycling, namely compost and mulch, can be used to improve lawns and gardens.

*200,000 tons is not the total volume of yard waste recycled in Fairfax County; the number represents what is reported as being collected curbside and delivered to merchant composting sites. Homeowner (backyard) and nursery (in-house) yard waste accounts for an additional percentage (unknown) of plant material that is diverted from disposal to composting.

How is the county's yard waste recycled?

Fairfax County operates a brush grinding operation which produces double-shredded wood mulch for residents. The mulch is FREE, clean, and of good quality.  Leaf mulch also is available on a seasonal basis, usually November through March. When leaves and grass are collected together, they are recycled into compost.

Does my townhome community have to recycle yard waste at the curb?

Townhome communities that do not generate large quantities of yard waste may apply for approval of an "alternative yard waste recycling system" through Fairfax County. For more information on the county’s recycling program requirements, call 703-324-5230, TTY 711 (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F).

See Also:
A-Z List of Recycling and Trash Topics
Free Mulch for Residents
Materials for Recycling or Disposal
Vacuum Leaf Collection

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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