DNREC offers yard waste management guidance for debris from Tropical Storm Isaias

August 11, 2020

After Tropical Storm Isaias and tornados spawned by the storm left a destructive wake through the state last week that included many downed trees and limbs, the cleanup has begun for many Delaware residents, and it will include disposing of more yard waste than usual. Yard waste is banned from Delaware’s landfills, so it cannot be placed in trash containers or recycling bins, but DNREC provides resources to help Delawareans manage their yard waste in ways that are protective of human health and the environment.

Yard waste typically consists of materials such as grass clippings, leaves, brush, small limbs (four inches in diameter or less), Christmas trees or other vegetative materials. Downed trees or large branches should be cut into manageable lengths for pickup by waste haulers or for drop-off at yard waste sites. Other materials, which might have been lost to the storm or mixed into yard waste debris, such as fence posts, treated wood, plastic or metal items and trash, should be separated from yard waste. DNREC reminds Delawareans that managing waste streams properly helps ensure that these materials are disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

What DNREC asks Delawareans to do for better management of yard waste:

• Make sure yard waste and normal trash are separated so that they can be collected properly.
• Utilize one of the many drop-off locations statewide for yard waste if without curbside collection. A list of sites can be found at
• Consider working with a homeowners association or neighbors to rent a chipper or hire a landscape company to mulch all fallen tree limbs and brush in the neighborhood and then put that mulch to use across the home landscape.

What should Delawareans not do with their yard waste:

• Do not burn yard waste. Open burning is prohibited in Delaware during this time, and punishable by fines of $500 to $1,500 plus court costs.
• Do not mix yard waste with other waste that goes into a trash cart.
• Do not deposit yard waste in vacant lots or open space areas. This is illegal dumping and will be prosecuted by DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit.
• Check with a hauler or municipal or county government to see if additional or different yard waste schedules for pickup are available due to extenuating circumstances from the recent tropical storm. Some haulers or communities might also have specific established guidelines to follow for yard waste pickup.

Report environmental violations, including trash dumping, to the DNREC Environmental Crimes Unit by calling the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 800-662-8802 or text ECUTIP to TIP411 (847411).

Information about yard waste management can be found at or by calling DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances at 302-739-9403. Information about open burning can be found at or by calling DNREC’s Division of Air Quality at 302-739-9402.

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