An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling

Yard Trimmings: Material-Specific Data

Yard trimmings include grass, leaves, and tree and brush trimmings from residential, institutional and commercial sources. Although limited data are available on the composition of yard trimmings, it is estimated that the average composition by weight is about 50 percent grass, 25 percent brush and 25 percent leaves. These are national estimates, and the actual number in specific locations may vary.

This web page is a brief summary of yard trimming-specific data in municipal solid waste (MSW). For more comprehensive information, see the 2016 and 2017 Data Tables on the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures Report page.

On this page:


This is a picture of a chart on yard trimmings waste management, spanning the years 1960 to 2014. This chart is measured in tons, and shows how much waste was recycled, composted, combusted with energy recovery, and landfilled.EPA measures the generation, recycling, composting, combustion with energy recovery and landfilling of yard trimming material in MSW.

EPA estimated that the generation of yard trimmings in MSW was 35.2 million tons in 2017, which is 13.1 percent of MSW generation.

EPA analyzed information from state composting programs to calculate the composting of yard trimmings. This analysis resulted in an estimate of 24.4 million tons of yard trimmings composted or wood waste mulched in 2017 with a 69.4 percent composting rate. State-reported composting tonnages may vary on a yearly basis with the amount of storm debris composted.

It should be noted that the estimated 24.4 million tons recovered for composting in 2017 does not include yard trimmings recovered for direct disposal, which are subsequently spread on the land. It also should be noted that these recovery estimates do not account for backyard composting by individuals.

The total amount of yard trimming material in MSW combusted in 2017 was 2.1 million tons. This represents 6.2 percent of all MSW combusted with energy recovery that year.

In 2017, landfills received about 8.7 million tons of yard trimmings, which comprised 6.2 percent of all MSW landfilled.

Please see the EPA Methodology Document for further information on estimating generation and management for yard trimmings.

Top of Page

Summary and Graph

The data below are from 1960 to 2017, relating to the total number of tons of yard trimmings generated, recycled, composted, combusted with energy recovery and landfilled.

1960-2017 Data on Yard Trimmings in MSW by Weight (in thousands of U.S. tons)
Management Pathway 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 2017
Generation 20,000 23,200 27,500 35,000 30,530 32,070 33,400 34,720 34,950 35,180
Recycled - - - - - - - - - -
Composted - - - 4,200 15,770 19,860 19,200 21,290 22,960 24,420
Combustion with Energy Recovery - 90 550 5,240 2,860 2,220 2,510 2,630 2,350 2,110
Landfilled 20,000 23,110 26,950 25,560 11,900 9,990 11,690 10,800 9,640 8,650

Sources: Composting data were from state environmental agency websites.

A dash in the table means that data is not available.


Top of Page