Yard Waste

Yard Waste BagsThe City of Des Moines Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division provides yard waste collection service to Des Moines residents year-round.   

If you have questions concerning yard waste collection, call our 24-hour Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 or submit an Online Garbage and Yard Waste Request.

Want to drop off your yard waste for free disposal?
Visit our SCRUB page for a list of events, and our SCRUB Guidelines page for guidelines and trailer restrictions.

Yard Waste Schedule

When is my yard waste collection day?
Yard waste is collected year-round on your regular garbage collection day.  Enter your address into Show Me My House to find your pick up day.

What time should I place my yard waste cart at the curb?

Municipal code states collection carts or appropriate bags or bags with stickers are allowed at your curbside 12 hours before your collection date, and must be removed within 12 hours after your collection date.

  • Place cart or bags at curb no later than 7 a.m. on garbage day (or) no earlier than 5 p.m. the day before  

  • Place at curb on a level surface (no more than 18” from the street or arm’s length) 

  • Cart/Bags should be at least 3 feet from all permanent structures. This includes other collection carts, yard bags or bundles, mailboxes, fences, wall, utility poles and other stationary items on the curb. 

  • If using a Yard Waste cart, the metal bar must face the street 

  • If using a Yard Waste cart, the lid must be closed

  • Do not over fill carts or bags (bags cannot weigh more than 40 pounds and carts no more than 200 pounds)

  • Do not place cart under low hanging tree branches

  • Remove cart from collection point after collection

Holiday Collection
Please see the holiday schedule for garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup, which may differ from holiday office closures for the City of Des Moines.

How to Dispose of Yard Waste

How do I prepare my yard waste for collection day?
  • Bags must not exceed 40 pounds.
  • Brush and limbs must be bundled and tied with a “Compost It” Sticker attached.
  • “Compost It” bags and “Compost It!” stickers may be purchased for collection.  Here is a list of Locations to Purchase Stickers.
Yard Waste Collection Carts:
  • Place at curb on a level surface (no more than 18” from the street or arms-length)
  • Cart should be placed at least 3 feet from all permanent structures.  (This includes all other collection carts, yard bags or bundles, mailboxes, fences, walls, utility poles and other stationary items on the curb.)
  • DO NOT place cart under low hanging tree branches.
  • DO NOT put yard waste in your garbage collection cart.
  • Lid must be closed.  Do not overfill your yard waste cart.
  • Metal bar must face the street.
What yard waste bags and containers can I use for disposal?
The acceptable container options for proper yard waste disposal are:
  • “Compost It!” bags which do NOT require a sticker and must not exceed 40 lbs.
  • Store brand/generic paper yard waste bags. Each bag requires a “Compost It!” sticker and must not exceed 40lbs.
  • Cardboard box 2’x2’x3’ or smaller. Each box requires a “Compost It!” sticker and must not exceed 40 lbs.
  • Yard waste in plastic bags will NOT be collected.
  • Do NOT put yard waste in Garbage and Recycle carts.  Garbage and Recycle carts with yard waste will NOT be collected.
“Compost It” bags and “Compost It!” stickers may be purchased for collection.  You can order bags/stickers online or visit one of these locations to purchase bags/stickers.
What IS collected?
  • Brush and branches
  • Christmas trees (attach 1 "Compost It!" sticker and make sure all tinsel, ornaments and lights are removed and it is not in a plastic bag)
  • Flower and garden plantings
  • Grass clippings
  • Hedge trimmings
  • Leaves
  • Twigs
What IS NOT collected?
  • Landscaping Rocks
  • Pet Waste
  • Plastic
  • Tree Stumps
How do I properly dispose of brush and branches?
  • Branches must be cut to 4-foot lengths or less and tied in bundles
  • Bundles cannot exceed 1.5 feet in diameter
  • Limbs must be 2 ½” inches in diameter or less (limbs, stumps, or logs larger than this will not be collected)
  • Weight limit for each bundle is 40 lbs.
  • Attach a “Compost It!” sticker to each bundle.
How do I dispose of my Christmas tree?
  • Christmas trees will be collected curbside on your regular garbage collection day, any time of year
  • Trees must be free of ornaments and tinsel and must not be in bags
  • Real trees must have a Green $1.25 Compost It! Sticker attached, while fake trees must have a Pink $5 sticker
  • The Compost It! Stickers are available at metro HyVee stores – Locations to Purchase Stickers

Service Requests

How do I sign up for a Premium Yard Waste Cart?

Subscribe to the Premium Yard Waste Cart Program by calling us at (515) 283-4950 or Submit a Garbage and Yard Waste Request Form. The program issues a wheeled collection cart for year-round disposal of leaf and yard debris.

Program Requirements:

  • Subscription and 12-month commitment
  • Monthly fee will be billed to your water bill
  • If you cancel prior to 12 months (even if you're moving), a $50 retrieval fee will be billed to your Des Moines Water Works monthly bill
  • Request to exchange for a different size within first 12 months will be billed a $50 exchange fee

Rates:

  • 64 Gallon Cart - $8.34 per month for each cart (requires 12 month commitment)
  • 96 Gallon Cart - $10.42 per month for each cart (requires 12 month commitment)
  • Lost or stolen carts require a replacement fee.  All fees will be billed to your Des Moines Water Works monthly bill  

Replacement fees are:

How do I request non-curbside collection service if I have a disability?
The City of Des Moines provides non-curbside collection services for individuals who are physically unable to place their collection carts at the curb or alley for regular collection.
  • Eligibility Requirements for this Program are: 
    • A physicians’ statement verifying a disability that prevents moving the collection carts to the curb
    • No other member of the household is able to move the cart to the curb
  • Application Process: 
    • Contact the Department of Public Works, 24-Hour Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 to request an appointment to fill out application ( or)  complete a request for an appointment using our online form. (Appointments are made for your next garbage collection day)
    • A City of Des Moines Department of Public Works Solid Waste Foreman will stop at your residence to explain program details, requirements and complete an application for each person living there. The Foreman will give you paperwork to be filled out by your Physician
    • You will be placed on the route for non-curbside collection services when we receive the physician's paperwork
There is no fee for this service.
What do I do if my yard waste collection was missed?

Contact us at (515) 283-4950 to report missed yard waste collection (or) complete the Yard Waste Request Form

What you should know before you report a missed collection:

  • Collection carts/bags must be curbside at 7 a.m. on collection day
  • Please assure this is the correct day for your yard waste to be collected
  • Missed collections must be reported before 5 p.m. the day after collection (no fee)
  • Missed collections reported later than 5 p.m. the following day will be subject to a $25 collection fee (added to your monthly Des Moines Water Works bill)
  • Yard Waste put out after 7 a.m. on collection day will be subject to a $25 collection fee
Where can I purchase Compost It! stickers and bags?
  • Online at the Metro Waste Authority's website.
  • Des Moines City Hall, certain grocers and hardware stores. Locations to Purchase Stickers
  • If you use a generic compost bag without "Compost It!" branding, you must attach a green “Compost It!” sticker to the bag.
  • For information on where to buy and pricing, visit the Metro Waste Authority's website.
What do I do if I'm moving?
Please contact the Public Works Department through out 24-hour Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 to let us know you are moving.
How do I replace a lost or stolen yard waste cart?

To request a Yard Waste cart, you may contact the Department of Public Works 24-Hour Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 or may you may request a cart online using the Garbage and Yard Waste Request Form.

Lost or stolen carts require a replacement fee that will be billed on the next water bill.
64-gallon cart is $37
96-gallon cart is $40

 

Are there fines for improper disposal of yard waste?

Leaves blown or raked into the street reduce traction for vehicles and clog storm sewers, preventing rain runoff from flowing into street drains. You can report this type of activity by calling the Department of Public Works 24-Hour Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 or Submit a Garbage and Yard Waste Request Form.

A city ordinance states that residents as well as landscape companies may be fined for placing leaves or grass clippings in city streets.

The fines for violations are:

  • $50 for the first offense
  • $75 for the second offense with the same year
  • $100 for the third offense