Isaias debris

Tropical Storm Isaias caused damage to trees, as evidenced by the debris left in the road on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

After Tropical Storm Isaias and tornadoes spawned by the storm left a destructive wake through Delaware on Tuesday that included many downed trees and limbs, the cleanup has begun for many Delaware residents – and will include disposing of more yard waste than usual.

Yard waste is banned from Delaware’s landfills so it cannot be placed in trash containers or recycling bins. But the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) provides resources to help Delawareans manage their yard waste in ways that are protective of human health and the environment.

Yard waste typically consists of materials such as grass clippings, leaves, brush, small limbs (4” in diameter or less), Christmas trees or other vegetative materials. Downed trees or large branches should be cut into manageable lengths for pickup by waste haulers or for drop-off at yard waste sites. Other materials, which might have been lost to the storm or mixed into your yard waste debris such as fence posts, treated wood, plastic or metal items and trash should be separated from yard waste. DNREC reminds Delawareans that managing waste streams properly helps ensure that these materials are disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

What DNREC asks Delawareans to do for better management of yard waste:

  • Make sure yard waste and normal trash are separated so that they can be collected properly.
  • Utilize one of the many drop-off locations statewide for yard waste if you don’t have curbside collection. A list of sites can be found at http://de.gov/yardwaste.
  • Consider working with your Homeowners Association or your neighbors to rent a chipper or hire a landscape company to mulch all fallen tree limbs and brush in your neighborhood and then put that mulch to use across your home landscape.

What should Delawareans not do with their yard waste:

  • Do not burn yard waste! Open burning is prohibited in Delaware during this time, and punishable by fine of $500 to $1,500 plus court costs.
  • Yard waste should not be mixed with other waste that goes into your trash cart.
  • Do not deposit your yard waste in vacant lots or open space areas. This is illegal dumping and will be prosecuted by DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit.

Check with your hauler or municipal or county government to see if additional or different yard waste schedules for pickup are available due to extenuating circumstances from the recent tropical storm. Additionally, some haulers or communities might have specific established guidelines to follow for yard waste pickup.

Report environmental violations, including trash dumping, to the DNREC Environmental Crimes Unit by calling the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 800-662-8802 or text ECUTIP to TIP411 (847411).

Information about yard waste management can be found online at de.gov/yardwaste or by calling DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances at (302) 739-9403. Information about open burning can be found online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/air/open-burning/ or by calling DNREC’s Division of Air Quality at (302) 739-9402.

DNREC protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. The Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Staff Reporter

Laura Walter is an award-winning reporter on schools, environment, people and history. A graduate of Indian River High School and Washington College, she has rappelled off a building and assisted a magician, and encourages readers to act on local issues.