Composting Milwaukee's autumn leaves

WATCH: Composting Milwaukee's autumn leaves

The leaves you rake into a neat pile on your street are turned into rich compost at Waste Management's Orchard Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility's Organics Complex in Germantown.

Yesterday, we got a behind the scenes look at how Milwaukee – in partnership with Waste Management and Madison's Purple Cow Organics – composts those leaves collected from city streets each autumn.

"We are encouraging residents to rake out their leaves loose into the street and our crews will be collecting those piles," says Smith.

"If residents have any questions about about when those piles will be collected they can go see a projected date at

"As a special way to encourage people to sign up for our email notification, until Nov. 10 we will be entering anyone who signs up for that notification into a drawing to get some free compost."

Remember to leave a one-foot gap between your leaf pile and the curb to allow storm water to reach sewer grates. Don't forget to keep sewer grates clear of leaves and other debris, too, to prevent backups.

(And while I'm being a nudge, please remember to shovel our your nearest fire hydrant after a heavy snow; the last thing you want when your house is on fire is for MFD to be digging around trying to find the hydrant.)


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