Yard Waste / Organics

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Yard Waste / Organics

Yard Waste/Organics Carts For Composting FAQs
Approximately 30% of what Minnesotans throw away is food waste. Uneaten food ends up in a landfill. Instead of throwing food waste away, prevent it in the first place. Anoka County provides tips for healthy meal planning and how to keep food fresher longer to help reduce food waste. Columbia Heights residents also have the opportunity to recycle organics (food scraps and food-soiled paper) at their property in dual-purpose carts for both yard waste and food waste. The cart cost is charged quarterly on the City utility bill.

Upon request, the City will provide your property with a large 90-gallon cart for comingled yard waste and organics. Small 30 gallon carts will be available as well, but note that yard waste and organics can be put in the same cart, so a large 90-gallon cart may be warranted. Apartment buildings and condos can also participate, but only the building owner and/or manager can order carts.

The carts will be emptied weekly on the same day as garbage during the yard waste season, and every other week during the winter. The collection will be conducted off the curb during the yard waste season and in the alley (if you have one) during the winter. Exceptions can be made for those properties whose front yard makes it impractical to bring carts to the curb.

Households will also receive a free kitchen starter kit with the required bags for organics disposal and a free bag of compost. Apartment and condo buildings can receive organic starter kits for tenants too.

The City Solid Waste Policy requires all food organic materials to be securely contained in a BPI-Certified compostable bag and disposed of in the City provided containers without exception. Organics materials included as part of the City’s organics recycling program will be consistent with the designated Organics Recycling Facility (i.e. the composter) requirements. Please contact the Public Works Department to order a Yard Waste/Organics cart.

Yard Waste

Yard waste consisting of leaves, grass clippings, acorns, garden waste, pine cones, needles, soft-bodied green plants, weeds, and other non-woody yard waste can be mixed together for collection. Set bagged or bundled yard waste on the curb in front of your home. Brush must be bundled in manageable 3-foot lengths not to exceed an 18" roll. Tree branches cannot be larger than 4" in diameter because this is too woody for yard waste. Yard waste is picked up beginning the first full week in April through the last full week of November on your refuse collection day unless there is snow cover. Please call Waste Management at 1-888-960-0008 for the exact start and end dates of yard waste collection. The only container allowed for yard waste collection is a City provided yard waste/organics cart or a compostable bag. There are several reasons for this policy: 

  • City Solid Waste Policy requires for public health reasons that food organics must be disposed of in the City provided yard waste/organics cart. 
  • Haulers’ concern for worker safety. There are long-term effects on workers lifting odd-sized containers four feet off the ground and emptying them all day long. 
  • The City wants to remove any public nuisance of taking organics out of the garbage cart by ensuring it still stored in a similar container, i.e. another cart. Again, the policy requires using the yard waste/organics cart if recycling organics. 
  • Household containers that are damaged will not be replaced by the City. It is much easier and less expensive for the City to replace a standard cart.
  • A household can possibly save money by choosing to use the City provided cart rather than purchasing yard waste bags.

The State of MN requires that yard waste bags meet ASTM D6400 standards for compostability. Information about the logo and certified vendors is available at BPI World/Minnesota. Call Waste Management at 1-888-960-0008 with any questions concerning yard waste collection. Anoka County has two compost sites available to residents that accept tree waste (for those branches over 4"), yard waste, and Christmas trees. Please note that a fee may be charged.

Backyard Composting
If interested in composting, information is available on the Anoka County website. For those who have backyard composting, you can still utilize the City’s organics collection service for those items not allowed in backyard composting, such as meat, bones, dairy, and paper. *See City Code Chapter 8 Public Health and Safety; Article III: Garbage and Rubbish; § 8.301 Storage Containers (F) concerning requirements and restrictions for the City of Columbia Heights.

wm service delays and pick up requests
In response to Waste Management yard-waste service delays, the City has arranged to fulfill curbside yard-waste service requests on a case-by-case basis until Waste Management services have returned to normal operation. Individual yard-waste pick-up service will occur each Tuesday by request. Fill out this form no later than Monday at noon for that week's Tuesday pick-up. For other missed pick-ups, including garbage and recycling, please be sure to first call Waste Management at 1-888-960-0008, or contact them via their customer support web page, to report the issue ASAP. Then fill out the form here, adding any relevant details to the Additional Info box, to help us track the scale of the problem. If your request relates to the recent WM delay in curbside yard-waste pick-up, please make a note of that on the form with any other relevant details. By-request curbside pick-ups will end Sept 21. A new pick-up service will begin Sept 26