Soft Yard Waste/Backyard Composting

Soft Yard Waste Guidelines

The Division of Public Works, Solid Waste Department begins the special curbside collection of Soft Yard Wastes early April and continues to late Fall weather permitting.

  • Soft yard wastes must be put into either paper compost bags or 32-gallon barrels. Please note: No trash carts on wheels can be picked up for soft yard waste disposal.
  • Please place the leaf bags and barrels out on your trash collection day and separate them from your trash by 3-5ft. or place them on the other side of the driveway. (Soft yard waste is defined as leaves, grass clippings, and pine needles which may include twigs and small sticks that are less than one inch in diameter) 
  • Each bag or barrel cannot exceed the 60lb weight limit and nothing can extend above the tops of the barrels or bags.
  • Plastic bags may NOT be used for Soft Yard Wastes; leaves, grass clippings & pine needles may NEVER be disposed of in the trash.   
  • NO dirt or rocks may be put into any soft yard waste containers.  
  • Any brush, including cut bushes, shrubs and branches 1 to 3 inches in diameter, should be cut, tied and bundle and residents who have their trash picked up by the Solid Waste Department may request a special pickup of up to five bundles of brush each year. 
  • This brush must be no longer than 4 feet, no wider than 3 inches in diameter, and a bundle must be no heavier than 60 pounds.  Please call 589-3410 by Friday afternoon to get onto the following week’s special pickup list starting in April.
Limbs greater than 3” in diameter and cut bushes must be brought directly to the Four Hills Landfill / Nashua Recycling Center, where a $5.00 residential permit is required to use the facility.

Nashua Recycling Center

Nashua residents may always bring Soft Yard Wastes or brush directly to the Nashua Recycling Center at the Four Hills Landfill, 840 West Hollis Street, during normal operating hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A valid residential permit is required to use the facility.

Note: State law requires that Soft Yard Wastes never be disposed of in the trash.

Backyard Composting

Approximately 25% of household waste are yard trimmings and kitchen scraps.


Backyard Composting allows residents to handle Soft Yard Wastes without the need for special bags or extra barrels. Food wastes can also be put into a backyard compost bin, along with the leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. The very useful soil amendment that is produced in the process can be added to gardens, lawns and shrubs to help retain moisture in the soil and promote growth.


Grass-cycling is a way of mowing grass that helps to cut down on the handling of clippings while providing essential nutrients to the soil. Just cut the top third of the blade and leave the clippings in place. Grass-cycling eliminates raking, but does not cause thatch buildup.


A brochure on Backyard Composting is available for viewing / downloading. It is in Adobe PDF format and each page is a separate file: