Yard Waste Management

Handle Your Yard Waste the Right Way

It may not seem intuitive, but yard waste can cause pollution. You are required to manage it properly. Placing it near ditches and roads, creeks or lakes, or on the beach is illegal and causes pollution.

Leaves, grass clippings, and other yard waste piled near ditches, roads, or water can:

  • Causing flooding and cost money by plugging storm drains and culverts.  
  • Degrade water quality and harm wildlife because pollution from excess nutrients causes oxygen depletion.
  • For information about water pollution from excess nutrients, visit: https://www.lakewhatcom.whatcomcounty.org/lake-threats/nutrients
  • Harm native habitat and vegetation by spreading invasive species.

Best choices for yard waste management:

  • Use FoodPlus! curbside service from Sanitary Service Company for yard waste, food scraps, and more. (360) 734-3490  www.ssc-inc.com
  • Take it to RDS Recycling and Disposal Services at 4916 Labounty Dr., Ferndale ,WA 98248. (360) 384-8011  www.rdsdisposal.com 
  • Take it to Green Earth Technology at 774 Meadowlark Dr., Lynden, WA 98264.       (360) 354-4936  www.greenearthtechnology.com 
    • A note about plastic bags and composting services. Do not put yard or food waste in plastic bags for composting through FoodPlus! or any of the drop off locations. Plastic contaminates the compost. If your yard or food waste is in a plastic bag, put it in the garbage.
  • Compost at Home. Learn more about backyard composting from WSU Whatcom County Extension’s Master Composter/Recycler. (360) 778-5800 https://extension.wsu.edu/whatcom/hg/composting/
    • A note about composting at home. A well-managed at-home compost pile can be a good option for disposing of yard waste. But some areas of our county, such as the Lake Whatcom watershed, are sensitive to nutrients from compost piles and compost use. Sending your yard debris to commercial composting facilities such as the options listed above is the best option for water quality in these areas. 
  • A note about mulching mowers. In most areas of the county mulching mowers are a great option and return nutrients to the soil where they feed your lawn.  But in the Lake Whatcom watershed excess phosphorus in the mulched clippings ends up in the lake where it feeds algae blooms, harming water quality.  If you live in the Lake Whatcom watershed please choose one of the options listed above.

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Photo of Storm Drain Leaves

Help Prevent Flooding in Your Neighborhood


Fallen leaves can build up quickly at inlets to storm drain pipes and culverts, causing flooding during rain storms.  If you see a storm drain that is clogged and can clear it without placing yourself in danger, please help by using a rake to remove the leaves and disposing of them properly.  


To report a clogged storm drain or drainage problem on Whatcom County roads, call (360) 778-6400.
 If You See Something, Say Something


Dumping yard waste in or near waterways such as ditches, creeks, or lakes is a violation of county, state, and federal laws.  Call (360) 778-6210 and select option #2 (Stormwater) to report illegal dumping.