Town of Markham, Ontario, Canada – Composting Rules

Markham has taken a comprehensive approach to yard waste reduction by implementing policies that reduce organic waste across the public, private, and residential sectors. First, as part of the town’s Zero Waste Policy, all yard waste is banned from landfills. The city educates citizens on environmentally beneficial disposal methods like grasscycling and encourages backyard composting. The town does select leaf and yard material curbside collection during the growing season between April and December, which is taken to a local composting facility.

The following are the Leaf and Yard Waste Guidelines for curbside collection:

  • There is no limit to the amount of leaf and yard materials you can place out for collection.
  • Place leaf and yard materials out for collection in biodegradable kraft paper bags, open rigid containers or bushel baskets. Do not place leaf and yard material for collection in any type of plastic bag or cardboard box.
  • Place branches and brush out in string tied bundles (no wire), making sure each individual branch does not exceed six inches in diameter, the bundles are not longer than four feet in length and do not weigh more than 40 pounds.
  • Do not mix your leaf and yard material with garbage. Leaf and yard materials are compostable and banned from landfill. Any garbage containing leaf and yard materials will not be collected.
  • Place leaf and yard material at the curb before 7:00 a.m. on your Scheduled Collection Day but not earlier than 7:00 p.m. the night before pick up (Bylaw 32-95).
  • All containers, bags and bundles must not weigh more than 40 pounds.

As an added benefit, Markham rewards its citizens’ environmental efforts each spring with a free compost giveaway day. Residents must bring proof of address and their own shovels/containers, but can take up to six containers per vehicle.


Drop-off Collection

For a fee of $65 per tonne, Markham residents also have the option to bring their yard waste to a public drop-off collection center at the Bloomington Compost Site. Acceptable public drop-off collection center materials include leaves, small amounts of sod, grass/thatch clippings, shrubs, twigs/branches, weeds, seasonal organic decorations (like pumpkins and Christmas trees), and flowers/garden plants.

Conversely, materials prohibited from drop-off include: food waste, sod, dirt, yard waste in plastic bags (must be emptied on-site), gravel, cement, topsoil, rocks/stones, animal droppings, driveway/road sweepings, tree stumps/root balls and tree branches (larger than six inches in diameter or longer than four feet in length), and treated/painted wood.


More Information


Original post from October 29, 2011
Updated July 8, 2021

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Brenda Platt

Brenda Platt directs ILSR's Composting for Community project.