There are several great ways for you to manage your leaves in fall!


Leave the leaves

Let leaves stay where they fall. Leaves provide a great shelter in the winter for pollinators, like bees, butterflies and moths. As a designated Bee City, we know these creatures help create a healthy ecosystem and sustainable food supply. Leaves also provide a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and add nutrients to our soil.

Composting and Mulching

Composting is one of the most economical and environmentally beneficial methods to get rid of collected leaves. They can be slowly added to your home compost. They break down into useful organic material that can be added to home gardening projects. Leaves, although bulky when first raked, will compost well over winter. Make sure the leaves are moist. It also helps to mix in some fruit and vegetable scraps.

Mulching is another economical and environmentally beneficial method. Try mulching leaves with a lawn mower or other device to reduce the volume of the leaf pile for home storage or composting. Additionally, simply mowing your leaves when they are dry and leaving them on your lawn adds organic material (nutrients) directly to your lawn.

Region of Waterloo Yard Waste Collection

The Region of Waterloo offers Yard Waste Collection until November 24, 2023. It operates every second week, opposite to garbage. When preparing leaves or yard waste use paper yard waste bags or reuse a garbage can. Plastic bags can not be accepted as they do not compost. 

Please see the Region's schedule for reference or visit the Yard Waste page for more information.

Cambridge Waste Management drop off
Bring your bagged leaves and other yard waste to the Cambridge Waste Management Centre, located at 201 Savage Dr., Monday to Saturday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., fees may apply. 
Cambridge Leaf Collection Program 

Before you rake, check your collection date!

The 2023 street collection program is expected to run November 13 – December 15.

Check the scheduled collection date for your neighbourhood by entering your address in the map below. 

Raking Reminders

  • Don’t rake too early. The weekend before your collection date is best.
  • Rake leaves onto the side of the road as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.
  • Leave sticks, branches or other material out of your pile. They can damage equipment and delay or injure work crews.
  • Keep leaves off storm sewer grates, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
  • Roadside leaf piles are tempting and dangerous for kids, please remind them not to play in roadside leaf piles.

If you miss your collection date or have additional leaves after the program has ended try one of the other options noted above.

 Frequently asked questions

When does Region of Waterloo Yard Waste pick up end?

The Region of Waterloo offers Yard Waste Collection until November 24, 2023

What are the benefits of composting, mulching or leaving the leaves on my lawn?

These options provide many environmental benefits:
  • Cambridge is a designated Bee City. Leaves left on your lawn provide shelter to pollinators over the winter months.
  • Leaves provide a natural mulch that help prevent weeds and nourish soil.
  • Composting and mulching are better for the environment, not to mention a more economical way to manage loose leaves.
When will City staff be out collecting leaves from roadsides?
Generally, the City program begins in early November and wraps up in early December. This timeframe however can fluctuate depending on when trees start to drop their leaves. Our staff work hard to clear leaves before snow starts to fall since heavy snowfall can prevent pick up from continuing.
You can check your collection start date by entering your address into the map under the Cambridge Leaf Collection Program tab above.

How are leaves collected by the City?

We collect leaves using various equipment including front-end loaders, dump trucks, leaf vacuums and street  sweepers. Four loader crews, two leaf vacuums and three sweepers are used during this program. Residential areas are serviced by specific equipment according to the volume of leaves in the area.

Vehicles parked on the road and on top of leaf piles will obstruct services. Workers will go around the vehicle and continue with leaf pick-up. Workers may not be back to pick up the leaves where that vehicle was parked.

Night-time street sweeping may occur after the bulk of the leaves have been collected.

Where are the leaves taken?

All loose leaves are transported to the Region of Waterloo Waste Management facility.

What happens in cold weather and snow?
Staff monitor weather continuously. Heavy snowfall and continuous freezing temperatures ends the loose leaf program as trucks that collect the leaves are also used to clear the snow. 
What if I miss my collection period?
As a designated Bee City, we encourage residents to leave the leaves where they are, or consider mulching or composting them on your property.

You can also bag your leaves and set them out for Region of Waterloo yard waste collection or bring them to the Cambridge Waste Management Centre.