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General Refuse Collection Information and Rules

NOTE: As of January 1, 2008, replacement of lost, stolen or damaged containers will no longer be free.

Automated Refuse Collection

Why Use Automated Collection

Automated refuse collection facilitates safer and more cost-effective collection of household trash. Automated refuse collection trucks are equipped with specially-designed hydraulic arms that grasp, lift and empty City-issued refuse containers.

Containers
  • Customers must use City-approved automated refuse containers to receive trash collection service. First containers are provided free of charge. Fees apply for additional refuse containers and for replacement containers for lost, stolen or damaged containers.

  • Two sizes of containers are available: 96- and 64-gallon. For container information, go to How to Obtain or Replace a Container or call 858-694-7000.

  • Containers should be stored in a secured location not visible from public right-of-way, such as behind a fence, in your backyard, or in your garage.

  • To report damaged, lost or stolen containers, to request an additional container, or for general questions about trash and recycling collection, please call the Environmental Services Department at 858-694-7000.

  • How to Prolong the Life of an Automated Container. (PDF)

  • Frequently Asked Questions - Containers (PDF)
Container Set-out
  • To ensure collection, all containers must be placed at designated point of collection by 6 a.m. on your scheduled collection day.

  • Set the automated container on the street or alley, wheels against the curb and with the handle facing your home.

  • Container should be three feet from other automated containers, parked cars, lamp posts, trees, mailbox posts, and any other obstructions so the collection truck can access your container.
Container Removal
  • All containers must be removed from your designated point of collection by 6 p.m. on your scheduled collection day. Failure to remove containers is a violation of City of San Diego Municipal Code Section 66.0105.

Help Keep Your Neighborhood Litter Free and Clean!

  • Do not pack trash tightly in your container.

  • Trash should be bagged or wrapped before placing in trash containers.

  • To reduce insects and rodents, keep containers clean.

What CAN go in the Trash

  • Normal household refuse.

  • Ashes or sawdust, thoroughly wet.

  • Broken glass, wrapped securely in multiple layers of newspaper.

  • Animal wastes, wrapped in newspaper or plastic bags.

  • Hazardous materials containers that are empty and dry and five gallons or smaller in size.

What can NEVER go in the Trash

Please never put any of the following materials in the trash. These materials can harm refuse collectors, the equipment, and the environment.

  • Liquids of any type. The refuse in landfills must be as dry as possible.

  • Hot coals, ashes or lit cigarettes.

  • Building and construction debris (dirt/rocks, tree trunks, carpets or large scraps).

  • Furniture, appliances or auto parts (water heaters, major appliances, couches/chairs, car bumpers, fenders, engine blocks, batteries, items over 50-pounds)

  • Unwrapped sharp objects (broken glass should be well-wrapped in newspaper before placing it in the trash.)

  • Household Hazardous Wastes (paint, cleaning fluids, motor oil, insecticides, solvents, acids, gasoline, pool chemicals, highly flammable liquids, radioactive materials, or toxic chemicals). Call Environmental Services at 858-694-7000 for disposal information.

  • Sharps including needles, syringes, lancets, and other self-injection devices. Talk to your health care provider, pharmacist, or bring to a household hazardous waste collection facility. Call 858-694-7000 for additional information.

  • Medical waste from home health care services may require special disposal. Talk to your doctor or provider about disposal instructions.

  • Universal Waste (all types of consumer batteries, electronics, fluorescent light bulbs, and mercury containing items such as thermometers and thermostats). For disposal information, visit Universal Waste FAQs or Links and Resources.

Missed Containers

  • Trash, recycling, and greenery pickup is guaranteed for containers placed in collection areas by 6 a.m., unless they are in violation of City regulations. If your trash has not been collected, look for a tag from your driver on the container. The tag will explain why it was left. If the container is not tagged, and it was set out before 6 a.m., call 858-694-7000, or submit a Service Request.

  • Missed trash, recycling, or yard waste collection must be reported by 5:00 p.m. on the day following your regular collection day in order to qualify for a return collection.