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Leaf and Yard Programs

Free compost

Free Compost ImageCompost suitable for lawns and flower gardens will be available to all residents at no charge at the Solid Waste & Recycling Facility on Friday, May 19, while quantities last, weather permitting.

Access to the compost pick-up area is located east of the old landfill entrance on John Street Road. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 8:30 am - 5 pm, and Saturday from 9 am - 4 pm.

Residents bringing garbage, recycling and/or hazardous household waste are reminded to dispose of these items at the Solid Waste & Recycling Facility on Mapleward Road first before visiting the special compost pick-up area. 

Residents are also advised to bring a shovel and some bags or containers to carry compost home. Quantities are limited to a maximum of one half ton load per resident.



Once in the spring and again in the fall, place your leaves, bundled branches, and garden waste out for curbside pickup. Look for the leaf symbol on your garbage collection calendar for your leaf & yard waste collection day. Use only kraft (paper) bags. Kraft bags, available at most hardware and grocery stores, are biodegradable and can be placed directly into the compost pile.

There is no bag limit on leaf and yard waste, but bags must weigh less than 18 kg or 40 lbs. 

You may also bundle branches and sticks with rope or twine. Bundles must be less that 1 metre (39 inches) long and 61 cm (24 inches) in diameter, and weigh less than 18 kg (40 lbs.).

Leaf and yard waste materials are taken to the City of Thunder Bay Solid Waste & Recycling Facility and made into soil-enriching compost.

You can also deliver compostable materials such as leaves, shrubs and branches directly to the landfill site compost area. No grass clippings please.

 Spring 2017 Leaf & Yard collection grid


back to brown bag basicsnotice: plastic bags no longer accepted for leaf & yard waste collection

As of fall 2015, residential leaf and yard waste left for curbside pickup in bags must be stored in kraft paper bags only. Leaf and yard waste in plastic bags are no longer picked up. Kraft bags are available at your local grocery or hardware store.

Questions? See the New Leaf & Yard Waste Packaging Requirements FAQ.

Kraft leaf and yard waste bags are easy to use. The change to kraft-bags-only for leaf and yard waste is a recommended action of the Solid Waste Management Strategy. See Jason Sherband explain this program change and its benefits in this Shaw TV video.


leaf & yard waste becomes compost 

compost at the City's landfillLeaf & yard waste is taken to the landfill site on Mapleward Road, processed into finer material and piled up to decompose further. The result is high-quality, well-aged and screened compost, which is provided free of charge to Thunder Bay residents when it is ready. This compost is ideal for landscaping, lawns and flower gardens.

Often compost is made available to residents in spring or early summer. Watch for announcements on the City's News Releases webpage, and bring your shovel!

Outdoor ComposterYou've probably heard that you can also use your own leaf & yard waste, and organic (no meat or grease) kitchen scraps to make compost at home. Need help getting started? EcoSuperior's Composting Factsheet (pdf) is a great source of information. The City provides Composters (through EcoSuperior) for a subsidized cost of $25 per unit. Proof of address is required. Pick up yours at EcoSuperior on Red River Road. See EcoSuperior's Outdoor Composters webpage for details.


Recycle grass clippings by leaving them on your lawn instead of raking and throwing them away. Grass clippings are a natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer that’s good for your lawn. Grasscycling saves you time, reduces waste and promotes a healthy root system in your turf. Best of all, it gives you more time to relax and enjoy the summer! Grass clippings are not accepted in the City’s Leaf & Yard Waste Composting Program.

For more information on the special one-day-only seasonal collections, contact Infrastructure & Operations Dispatch at 625-2195.