Loose or bagged leaves, branches (less than 6 ft in length)
Grass clippings
Subject to a Charge:
Bricks, concrete and other building materials (must be separated from yard waste)
The City of Columbia composting operation receives nearly 25 percent of the City's total trash tonnage.

This is a low-tech composting operation that requires a slow biodegradation of vegetation.

When the compost becomes completely broken down, it is a valuable gardening material. The compost is available to citizens and can be picked up at our facility located in Columbia across from the Animal Shelter on Humane Lane off Shop Road. Map & directions.

Leaf season is here! Due to increased yard debris, the City of Columbia Solid Waste Division is behind schedule. The crews typically work one day to a day and half behind. However, trash crews work Monday through Friday to keep up with collection. The division will evaluate working on Saturdays to maintain collection.
Tips to Prepare for Collection
  • Separate clean yard waste from bulk items.
  • Place your bags or piles at the curb by 7:30 a.m.
  • Remove dirt, stones, litter and other debris from your leaves to prevent equipment damage and worker injuries..
  • Place only leaves in the biodegradable paper leaf bags. Bagging is not required, but helpful!
  • Don’t use plastic bags. Clean yard debris is taken to the City’s compost facility. Anything in plastic bags will be landfilled.
  • Pile your leaves away from storm drains, water meter covers, low wires and parked cars.
  • Never park your car on leaf piles — it’s a fire hazard.
Try composting or mulching! Leaves are a precious free resource that can be used to improve garden soil. As leaves fall on the ground, they create a layer of mulch that helps retain moisture and slowly, over a long period of time, decompose and feed the soil. Composting at home is an easy way to take advantage of the environment's natural recycling process, which creates valuable organic supplements, and can be done right in your own backyard.
Backyard Organics Composting
The U.S. EPA defines compost as organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
All composting requires three basic ingredients:
  • Browns - dead leaves, branches, and twigs
  • Greens - grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds
  • Water - Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development
Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.
To find out more about backyard composting, visit the EPA's website.

2910 Colonial Drive, Columbia, South Carolina 29203
(803) 545-3800