Getting rid of the leaves in your yard before the snow falls is a task we all despise, but you should do it. What some homeowners in Iowa don't know is the proper way to get rid of those annoying leaves that probably came from your neighbor's tree.

Raking fallen leaves in the garden
Zbynek Pospisil

There is a right way to get rid of leaves and more than one wrong way to dispose of them. The other ways could get you in trouble and lead to fines.

It's Illegal To Put Leaves In The Garbage In Iowa

As tempting as it is, it is illegal to put your leaves in your garbage bin to get disposed of in the landfill. Not only could you get in trouble, but so could the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, or whatever Iowa town you live in.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's illegal to trash your leaves for the following reasons:

  • Landfills are designed to store waste and prevent it from “escaping” into the surrounding environment. Once leaves enter a landfill, they’re there to stay.
  • Leaves placed in a landfill are mixed with other trash so they can’t be recycled or reused.
  • Leaves, along with other green waste, are uniquely valuable as recycled products or reused in the landscape (for example, as leaf mold or mulch).
  • Decayed leaves and garden waste make great compost, which is ideally designed to enrich the soil and provide energy for future tree growth.

So don't do that.

You Can't Blow Your Leaves In The Street Either

attachment-Iowa Illegal Blow Leaves In Street

That's a big no-no, too. In the City of Davenport, raking out leaves and blowing grass clippings into the street is considered a violation of the "Clean Water Act" and City Code, Chapter 8.14.400.

If you're caught doing this, your first fine will land you $100. After that, it could go up to $500.

burning leaves

If you think burning the leaves is a good idea, think again. It's also illegal to have an open fire containing leaves, grass, garbage, building materials, business waste, or other prohibited materials.

The Right Way To Get Rid Of Leaves

leaf grass bag

Now through through Dec. 1 in Bettendorf and Davenport, you can get rid of those leaves for free. When you rake those leaves and put grass clippings in the Kraft ply bags, you don't need to worry about getting stickers before trash pickup day.

Simply bag up all that yard waste, put your bags at the curb on your trash day, and don't worry about a thing.

After that, you'll need to put a yard waste sticker on each bag. You can also drop off yard waste at the Compost Facility year-round.

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