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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Leaf Collection Season, Reminds Residents to Compost Old Pumpkins

Thursday, October 28, 2021
As Part of Back to Basics Week, District Agencies Are Reminding Residents How to Support Leaf Season and How to Dispose of Pumpkins in an Environmentally-Friendly Way

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off the 2021-2022 Leaf Collection by reminding residents that leaf collection begins on Monday, November 1. The Mayor and the Department of Public Works (DPW) also reminded residents how they can dispose of old pumpkins in an environmentally-friendly way by composting them through the District’s food drop off program.

“Today, we’re reminding all residents to check their leaf collection schedules and make sure they’re prepared for leaf season,” said Mayor Bowser. “And fall is always a good time to remind residents about our Food Waste Drop-Off program, a free service that makes composting in the city easy.”

DPW will be using a vacuum process for collecting leaves. Residents whose properties are serviced by DPW are asked to rake their leaves for collection to the curb or into the tree box at the front of their residence. To help facilitate the vacuum process, residents are also asked to keep vehicles away from the curb lanes on scheduled collection days.

Collections will still occur twice in each neighborhood this year between on November 1, 2021 and January 15, 2022. DPW collection schedules will remain the same. Schedules and frequently asked questions can be found at dpw.dc.gov/service/leaf-collection.

“Many know that our leaf collection program gives us an opportunity to recycle those leaves and turn them into free compost for residents during the spring,” said Acting DPW Director Christine Davis. “We ask residents to help the District’s recycling efforts even further by dropping off their unused pumpkins and gourds at one of our 10 food waste drop off sites located. Redirecting food waste from landfills not only improves our environment, reducing food waste is vital in our efforts to combat hunger.”

DPW also reminded residents who receive their trash and recycling services that effective August 2021, they can also schedule yard waste collection pick-up service any time of the year. Residents may collect leaves, cut grass, twigs, and small shrubs for collection by DPW, which they can place at their trash and recycling point of collection in brown paper bags only. To schedule a yard waste collection, residents can call 311, visit 311.dc.gov, or download the 311 mobile app available at the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Leaf Season Collection Tips

  • Check the DPW website to confirm your area’s leaf collection dates.
  • Move vehicles from curb lanes to help ease the leaf vacuum collection process.
  • Rake leaves to the curbside or tree box at the front of the residence the Sunday before the scheduled leaf collection date.
  • Remove all cans, bottles, sticks, toys and debris from your piles of leaves. These items can damage equipment and prevent safe and proper collection.
  • Download the MyDPW app to receive customized alerts about leaf collection in your neighborhood.
  • Call 311 (202-737-4404) or visit 311.dc.gov to open a “Leaf Season Collection” service request, but please wait until the last day of the designated collection in your neighborhood.
  • Leaves placed in plastic bags will be collected as trash and not recycled.

Residents are also reminded to “recycle” their decoration pumpkins and gourds by dropping them off at one of the nine DPW food waste drop-off sites located at Farmers’ Markets across the city. For a list of these sites, visit zerowaste.dc.gov/foodwastedropoff.

Pumpkin/Food Drop Off Sites

Beginning the week of November 6, most pumpkins and gourds can be taken to one of nine food waste collection sites in the District for composting, in support of the District’s zero waste efforts. Please note that pumpkins decorated with paint, glitter or other inorganic matter cannot be composted. The food waste collected at drop-off locations is composted. The food drop off sites are as follows:

  • Ward 1: Columbia Heights Farmers’ Market, 14th and Kenyon Streets, NW, Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (year-round)
  • Ward 2: Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market, 1500 20th Street NW, Sundays 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (year-round)
  • Ward 3:
    • University of District of Columbia Farmers’ Market, 4340 Connecticut Avenue NW, Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (May 1-November 20)
    • Palisades Farmers Market, 48th Place NW and MacArthur Boulevard NW, Sundays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (year-round)
  • Ward 4: Uptown Farmers’ Market, 14th and Kennedy Streets NW, Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (May 1-November 20)
  • Ward 5: Brookland Farmers’ Market, 716 Monroe Street NE, Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (year-round)
  • Ward 6:
    • Eastern Market (in front of Rumsey Pool), 635 North Carolina Avenue SE, Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (year-round)
    • SW Farmers Market, 425 M Street, SW, Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (April 3 - November 20)
  • Ward 7: First Baptist Church of Deanwood - Outreach Center, 1008 45th Street NE, Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (May 8 - November 20)

Note: The Ward 8 Farmers Market located at 3200 6th Street SE is closed for the season.