Greening West Goshen: How to Properly Dispose of Leaves

There are many ways to dispose of leaves and your annual holiday tree. Please see West Goshen Township’s rules below for disposing of fall leaves: 

  • DO compost leaves whenever possible (explained more below).
  • DO place leaves in biodegradable bags or trash cans for collection on November 9th, November 23, or December 14. There is no limit to the number of bags or cans for leaf collections. Small branches or twigs that fit into paper waste bags may be included.
  • DO ensure your business arranges for its own leaf disposal with your trash hauler.
  • DO NOT place leaves in plastic bags. Leaves will not be collected from plastic bags. 
  • DO NOT burn leaves. Leaves and yard waste are not permitted to be disposed of by burning in West Goshen Township in compliance with Title 25 of the Pennsylvania Code.
  • DO NOT rake leaves into the street. This is very dangerous and can affect traffic. 
  • DO NOT dispose of leaves into streams, ponds, or stream beds. This can cause flooding and pollute the watershed. Because leaves are nutrient-dense, they can break down in sewers and cause algal blooms in waterways.

One of the most environmentally friendly options is to let leaves compost. Environmental experts say raking leaves and removing them from your property can be detrimental not only for your lawn, but for the planet as a whole – especially butterflies, bees, and songbirds. Butterflies and songbirds both depend on leaf litter. “Over winter months, a lot of butterflies and moth pupa or caterpillars are living in the leaf litter, and when you rake it you are removing the whole population of butterflies you would otherwise see in your yard.” Without the insects in the leaf litter, you also risk driving away birds that might have come to your yard looking for food to feed their offspring.

If you plan to let your leaves compost, be mindful that decomposing leaves will acidify the top couple inches of soil as they break down. Some plants like that, and some will hate it. Most types of grass prefer alkaline soil with pH levels between 6.5 and 7.0. If you do remove your leaves, the best thing to do is to cut them up and drop them into a plant or flower bed, or another part of your lawn that doesn’t get leaf cover. 

In addition, please be cautious when disposing of your Christmas tree. Avoid mindlessly throwing away the tree such as leaving it curbside on a non collection day. – let West Goshen Township mulch it. Mulching your old tree turns it into useful wood chips instead of taking up valuable landfill space. West Goshen Township offers two ways for residents to dispose of their Christmas trees in an environmentally sensible fashion:Township residents can drop trees at the West Goshen Community Park main parking lot on the appropriate dates on the township website or place them curbside for collection on the appropriate dates listed on the township website. Anyone illegally dumping trees or other non compostable items will be prosecuted. For both drop off and curbside disposal, please make sure to remove all tinsel, decorations, and plastic bags from trees. Wreaths will not be accepted.

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