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What to do With Leaves

There’s nothing quite like the view of colorful leaves in autumn. But what do you do when they’ve all fallen and you’re left with a mess in your yard? Winter is quickly approaching, so it’s important to dispose of the leaves before the snow comes. But how can you do so safely (and legally)? Here’s what to know.


While many local governments are banning leaves and other yard trimmings from landfills, you may be tempted to burn the leaves in your yard. Leaf burning, however, becomes a fire hazard that can lead to air pollution and health problems. Burning leaves is not recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—nor is it legal in most states. The open burning of leaves produces toxic compounds like carbon monoxide.


If you’ve got a lot of time and a strong back (who has either, right?), bagging leaves is one option. But remember, sticks, rocks, pinecones, limbs and other debris should not be mixed with loose leaves. Also, check with your municipality or borough to see what, if any, weight limit or bag color has been specified for leaf-filled bags, Then, when they’re ready to go, put them at the curb on your regular trash collection day or as directed.


Composting is an environmentally friendly form of recycling that helps soil retain moisture and nutrients and increase fertility. When leaves are composted along with nitrogen-filled grass clippings, the resulting compost becomes organic fertilizer or mulch for flowerbeds, gardens or around shrubs. The EPA’s Web site offers a free detailed guide on how to create your own compost pile in your backyard. The most important thing to note is what can and cannot be composted. Stay away from meat trimmings and bones—they may attract pests.

Here are a few different ways to compost:

  1. Make your own compost bin. This is a simple and cost-effective way to make a difference for the good of the environment.
  2. Mulching is a great way to add nutrients to your garden and put those leaves to good use in natures cycle. You can use a chipper to turn clean leaves or brush into mulch.
  3. Find out if your community offers leaf collection or wood waste removal. Laws for leaf disposal vary depending on where you live. Visit your city’s website or call your local public works department for more information.


Planning is smart, but life is always changing – just like the seasons. For whatever’s in store, we’re with you on the journey. Call an insurance professional like a local ERIE agent about insuring your home.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.