City Services

A Handy Guide to Madison City Living

Lawns and Yards

Spring Leaf and Garden Waste

The City of Madison picks up leaves twice a year—Spring and Fall (before the snow falls).

Every April, the Street Division provides a special collection for leaves and garden debris.

Beginning in October, the Street Division provides leaf collection. It is preferred that you pile your leaves loose at the street edge (also known as the terrace). Keep leaves separate from brush and avoid piling them around or next too mail boxes, trees and utility poles. Do not put leaves in the street. You may cover your leaf piles with tarps of plastic sheeting to prevent them from blowing around.

If you must bag your leaves, please leave the bags open at the top. This will help city staff identify what is in the bags and will speed collection as all bags must be emptied.

To get the latest leaf collection information for the west side, check the City of Madison Streets website. Or you can get information by calling 267-2088. This number will provide you with a recorded announcement 24 hours a day. Also, Madison City Channel 12 (cable) runs public service announcements about these city services.

Brush Pickup

The City of Madison picks up brush from the terrace. What is brush? Tree limbs and branches are considered brush.

Yard Waste

Since 1989, yard waste has been banned from Dane County landfills; therefore, there is NO pick up for yard waste. What is yard waste? Leaves, grass clippings, flowers, plant stalks, vines and small twigs.

The best thing you can do with your yard waste is to compost it or use it as mulch at home. Grass clippings should be left on the lawn, where they provide nutrients for your turf. Clippings and leaves also make excellent mulch in gardens and around flowers and shrubs.

The City drop off or County compost sites are open from April through the first week of December.


Lawns, by ordinance, shall be maintained a at height no greater than 8 inches; natural lawns require a city permit.

Trash and Recycling Pickups, Details

If you are a renter, the property owner may provide private waste pick up, else the following rules apply for city waste disposal.

City ordinance prohibits placing your trash on the terrace earlier than 24 hours before pick up day; trash containers must also be removed from the terrace no later than 24 hours from your pick up.

There are no regulations for placing trash in ‘barrels’ but less trash is "picked apart" by birds, etc. if properly bagged and placed within a container.

There are regulations for the collection of recyclables. See the City of Madison Streets website.

Appliance Disposal

Appliances, such as air compressors, air conditioners, copiers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, dryers, fluorescent light fixtures, freezers, furnaces, garbage disposals, large commercial appliances, microwave ovens, ovens, ranges, refrigerators, stoves, trash compactors, washers, water heaters, water softeners and wood stoves, can be placed on the terrace for pick up. NOTE: Many of these items require a city sticker for a fee for disposal. Stickers may be purchased:

If you are purchasing a new large appliance, many times the retailer may haul away your old appliance.