Welp. No More Plastic Yard Waste Bags in CLT After July 5th. The What & the Why & the What to Do Instead

On May 5, 2021 the City of Charlotte announced a yard waste pick up mandate requiring residents who receive city collection to use compostable paper bags or reusable personal containers no larger than 32-gallons for yard waste collection. Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings, small limbs and brush. The mandate will begin on Monday, July 5, 2021. 

Reasons for the change

Per the announcement webpage here, the environmental impacts of plastic bags, as well as operational efficiency, were factors in this change. Single-use plastic creates numerous, negative environmental impacts in both its manufacturing and disposal. Conversely, paper bags are extracted from unbleached, recycled brown kraft paper, which saves natural resources and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the yard waste disposal facility does not accept yard waste in plastic bags, Solid Waste staff must debag leaves and yard waste at the curb, which increases collection times and makes it difficult to complete routes on the scheduled day of collection. Eliminating single-use, plastic yard waste bags will allow Solid Waste Services to decrease the amount of time required to provide service at each home. 

What to expect beginning July 5

Beginning July 5, Solid Waste Services will no longer accept yard waste in plastic bags. If residents use plastic bags after this date, Solid Waste Services will leave a note reminding them of the change and provide a one-time courtesy collection. If residents continue to use plastic bags, they could be subject to a minimum $150 fine per the Charlotte City Code.

Residents also have the option of disposing of yard waste by taking the items, in paper bags or reusable containers, to one of the four Mecklenburg County full-service recycling centers. Fees may be charged when disposing at the full-service centers.

Where paper bags and containers can be purchased

Paper yard bags and reusable personal containers no larger than 32-gallons can be purchased at local discount, hardware and home improvement stores. Only compostable, paper yard waste bags will be accepted. Compostable plastic bags are not accepted as they are not accepted by the yard waste disposal site because they compromise the integrity of the compost product.

Links to Buy

3 Pack 32 Gallons Reusable Garden Waste Bag, Heavy Duty with Dual Handles and Double Bottom Layers $16.99 buy here on Amazon
Lowe’s 30 Gallon Heavy Duty Brown Paper Lawn and Refuse Bags for Home and Garden (10 Count) $17.70 buy here on Amazon (5 for $12 at Lowes)

In addition to local stores, beginning July 5, there will be a limited supply of paper bags available for pick up, at no cost, at the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services’ office (1105 Otts Street) and any of the Mecklenburg County full-service recycling centers.

For more information on the mandate, please visit cltgov.me/yardwaste.


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