Yard Waste & Composting

Back Yard Composting

Grass clippings, fallen branches, dead plants…If your yard has trees, shrubs, or garden beds, you’ll need to figure out a strategy for managing yard waste. In the olden days - before 1992 - you could throw it away with your garbage. Today yard waste must be treated separately from other solid waste. You can take it to a compost site or pay your garbage hauler an additional fee for pickup. But this organic material is a valuable source of nutrients and there are great ways to use it on site.

Many Maplewood residents have discovered that home composting is a fun way to handle yard and organic waste. Composting is easy to do and it gives you a supply of compost, a nutrient-rich organic material that can help improve the soil in your garden. Compost recipes and compost structures run the gamut from the simple to the extravagant. At its most basic, a compost pile or bin needs dead plant material, green plant material, air, and water. Homemade bins, plastic tumblers, and fancy containers are all effective.

City Requirements for Compost Bins

The city made some minor changes to its composting regulations when it revised the Solid Waste Ordinance (Chapter 30) in June 2012. Here are the requirements for a home compost pile or bin in Maplewood:
  • Small quantities of lawn and garden waste, and kitchen food scraps, can be composted.
  • Compost pile or bin cannot be in the front yard.
  • Compost pile or bin must be at least 5 feet from rear or side property lines.
  • Compost pile must not be a nuisance to neighbors due to objectionable odors, vector of disease, attracting unwanted wildlife or unsightliness.

Compost Bin Sale

The Recycling Association of Minnesota holds an annual compost bin sale each spring.  Click her for additional information. 

Other Yard Waste Disposal Options

Yard Waste Disposal Through the Maplewood Trash Plan: Check out information on the city's yard waste subscription and one-time yard waste pick up in Maplewood's Annual Solid Waste Guide, or contact the city's trash and yard waste contractor, Republic Services, at 651-455-8634.

Yard Waste Disposal Through the Ramsey County Yard Waste Sites: You can also take your yard waste to one of Ramsey County's yard waste sites.

Other Organics Disposal Options

Residents can drop off food waste and non-recyclable paper at six of Ramsey County's yard waste sites for free (does not include Arden Hills site). The county will haul it to an organics composting site, where it will become a soil amendment.

How to Recycle Organics at the Ramsey County Yard Waste Sites


  1. Collect organic waste in a compostable bag. That means a bag that has the "compostable" logo from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) on the bag or the box.
  2. Bring your bagged organics to a Ramsey County Yard Waste site. All yard waste sites In Ramsey County (except Arden Hills) accept food waste. Yard waste site monitors even provide additional compostable bags free of charge.

Items Accepted at Ramsey County Yard Waste Sites

  • All food waste including vegetables, fruits, meats (including fats, oils and grease), poultry, fish, bones, grains, dairy, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags etc.
  • Non-recyclable paper including greasy pizza boxes, paper towels, tissues, wrapping paper, paper freezer boxes, soda and beer boxes, dirty paper bags, etc.
  • Compostable cups, plates, utensils, bags etc. Check that it has the “Compostable” logo from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) on the item or packaging to ensure it is compostable.
Visit RamseyRecycles.com, or call 651-633-EASY (3279) answered 24/7 for more information.

Additional Resources