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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Leaf Collection Program, Encourages Residents to Compost Holiday Pumpkins and Gourds

Monday, October 24, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of Back to Basics Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Department of Public Works (DPW) kicked off the District’s leaf collection program, reminded residents that they can compost pumpkins and gourds at the District’s food waste drop-off locations, and highlighted the upcoming snow dry run.

“We know that our team at DPW works hard all year round, but they are even busier keeping DC clean and safe during the fall and winter months,” said Mayor Bowser. “The fall is also a season of gratitude, so let’s show our gratitude for DPW by each doing our part to make this year’s leaf collection a success.”

DPW will begin collecting leaves from neighborhoods on Monday, November 7. This year, adjustments have been made to the leaf collection program to make it more efficient. Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget includes funding for 110 additional seasonal positions—a 50% increase over 2022. The collection schedule has also been adjusted to allow leaf collection crews do collections when most leaves have fallen, with residents still receving two leaf collection pickups. The first pass for leaf collection will occur when leaf accumulation is lighter, for one week in each section. The second pass will be for two weeks in each section when leaf accumulation is heavier.

Residents are asked to rake their leaves for collection to the curb or into the tree box at the front of their residence—paper bags are not required. To help facilitate the collection process, residents are asked to keep vehicles away from the curb lanes on scheduled collection days.

Leaf Season Collection Tips:

  • Check the DPW website to confirm your area’s leaf collection dates and download the MyDPW app to receive customized alerts about leaf collection in your neighborhood.
  • Move vehicles from curb lanes to help ease the leaf vacuum collection process.
  • Rake leaves to the curbside or tree box at the front of the residence the Sunday before the scheduled leaf collection date.
  • Remove all cans, bottles, sticks, toys, and debris from your piles of leaves. These items can damage equipment and prevent safe and proper collection.
  • Leaves placed in plastic bags will be collected as trash and not recycled.
  • District residents can also bring leaves contained in paper bags to the Benning Road Transfer Station located at 2300 Benning Road, NE, Wednesday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • For missed leaf collections, residents can call 311 or visit to open a “Leaf Season Collection” service request, but please wait until at least five days after the last day of the designated collection in your neighborhood.

Pumpkin/Food Drop Off Sites

Beginning the week of November 6, most pumpkins and gourds can be taken to one of nine food waste collection sites in the District for composting, in support of the District’s zero waste efforts. Please note that pumpkins decorated with paint, glitter or other inorganic matter cannot be composted. The food waste drop-off locations are listed below.

“Fall is also a time of family gatherings and the purchase of a variety of gourds to consume and decorate our homes,” said Interim DPW Director Michael Carter. “As part of DPW’s mission toward zero waste in the District, we remind residents that instead of just throwing pumpkins and gourds in the trash after the holidays, use one of the many food waste drop-off locations around the city to boost composting efforts in the District.”

Location Address Ward Program Day Drop-Off Times
Columbia Heights Farmers' Market 14th and Kenyon St., NW Ward 1 Saturday (year-round) 9am-1pm
DuPont Circle Farmers' Market 1500 20th St., NW Ward 2 Sunday (year-round) 8:30am-1:30pm
University of District of Columbia Farmers' Market 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW Ward 3 Saturday (May 1-Nov 20) 9am-1pm
Palisades Farmers Market 48th Place NW &, MacArthur Blvd. NW Ward 3 Sunday (year-round)  9 am-1pm
Uptown Farmers' Market 14th and Kennedy St., NW Ward 4 Saturday (May 1-Nov. 20) 9am-1pm
Brookland Farmers' Market 716 Monroe St., NE Ward 5 Saturday (year-round) 9am-1pm
Eastern Market (in front of Rumsey Pool) 635 North Carolina Ave., SE Ward 6 Saturday (year-round) 9am-1pm
SW Farmers Market 425 M St., SW Ward 6 Saturday (Apr. 3-Nov. 20) 9am-1pm
First Baptist Church of Deanwood - Outreach Center 1008 45th St., NE Ward 7 Saturday (May 8-Nov. 20) 9am-1pm

Note: The Ward 8 Farmers Market located at 3200 6th Street SE is closed for the season.

In April 2023, DPW plans to add two new satellite food waste drop-off locations. These sites will be operated by the community and District Government will cover the costs. Between November 1 and December 31, DPW is accepting online applications from members of the public – including businesses, farmers markets, non-profits, and community groups – interested in running the new sites. Learn more at

Snow Dry Run

The Mayor and DPW also noted that on Friday, October 28, at 414 Farragut Street, NE, the District’s Snow Team will host a training exercise to ensure they are prepared for every aspect of the District’s snow and ice operations. The Snow Team is led by DPW, with support from the Department of Transportation, the Department of General Services, the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, and Serve DC. Throughout the day, plow operator will drive their routes, checking for obstacles they might encounter during an actual snow event.

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