How to get rid of leaves without burning

Man using a leaf blower on grass in autumn weather.
(Image credit: Getty)

The piles of leaves at this time of year can seem never-ending. They make your yard slippery, increasing the risk of falls. You may be tempted to burn the leaves as a quick fix, but it’s a big no-no. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to dispose of leaves by burning them. Plus, fires can spread quickly, which can be dangerous for you and your neighbors. On top of that, the fumes released can be harmful to your health and to the environment.

Here, we suggest how to get rid of leaves without burning them, so you can achieve a cleaner yard without staining your conscience. We’ve consulted an expert for their perspective on how to dispose of leaves safely. You’ll learn alternative ways to remove leaves from your yard, including using a good old-fashioned rake or a leaf blower. We’ll cover ways to put those leaves to use so you can do your bit for the planet.  

Want a safe, efficient way to clear a large yard of leaves? Look no further than the best leaf blowers (opens in new tab) that make short work of the problem.  

How to get rid of leaves without burning them 

Rick Jason Martineau
Rick Jason Martineau

Rick Jason Martineau has been involved in the forest industry for over 40 years. He has 5+ years of experience at Husqvarna Group and is currently the Senior Training Specialist for Tree Professional Products, Safety, and Advocacy for North America.

Considering burning those excess leaves? “There are a number of reasons why burning is not recommended. Hot embers from leaves can travel a great distance and have terrible consequences. Liability could fall directly on you. Pollution from the smoke and ash may be deposited far beyond where you intended,” says Rick Jason Martineau, Senior Training Specialist for Tree Professional Products at Husqvarna (opens in new tab).

So, let’s delve into how to get rid of leaves without burning them. The cheapest option is to use a rake to gather the leaves. If a rake sounds like back-breaking work, consider investing in a leaf blower. They come into their own with larger yards where you need to remove vast amounts of leaves.

Once you’ve collected the leaves, consider storing them in a trash bag or compost bin to produce leaf mold. You can use this material as mulch - try spreading a layer on your flower beds to boost nutrient levels. You’ll thank yourself when you’re greeted with beautiful blooms in spring. 

Alternatively, it’s worth checking whether your local waste collection service provides curbside pick-up for leaves so they can be turned into compost. If not, create your own or dispose of them with your other green waste.

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Louise Bond is a UK-based writer specializing in health and wellbeing. She has over eight years of experience in management within health and care and brings this passion and expertise to her writing. Louise has been published in The Guardian, Live Science, Fit & Well, Tom’s Guide, Planet Mindful, Breathe, and Psychreg. She is at her happiest when she is out in nature, whether that’s on an invigorating hike or pottering in the garden.

With contributions from