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Frequently Asked Questions

Automated Refuse Collection

Q: What is automated refuse collection?

A: Automated Refuse Collection facilitates safer and more efficient collection of residential trash. Standard sized and shaped trash containers are distributed to households. The containers are easily grasped by a hydraulic arm on the automated trucks that dump the trash into an overhead compartment.

Not only does automated collection reduce driver injuries associated with regular trash collection, but also it increases refuse collection efficiency. The City of San Diego completed its conversion from manual refuse collection to automated collection in 1999. As a consequence of these improvements, the City projects an estimated savings of $18 million over the next 10 years.

Q: Can I choose the size of my automated refuse and recycling collection containers?

A: The most common container is a 96-gallon container, which has the capacity equivalent to three regular trash cans. Smaller containers are also available on request. The first container is provided by the City at no cost. Additional containers may include a delivery fee. Due to warranty specifications, only automated containers provided by the City will be collected. For more information, call Customer Service at 858-694-7000.

Since the automated program is based on improving productivity, maximum savings are achieved when a single container, suitable for a household's particular needs, is selected.

Q: What should I do with my old trash cans?

A: In the spirit of "reduce-reuse-recycle," there are many ways to utilize old trash cans. If you do not have curbside recycling, consider using your old trash cans to store recyclables before taking the materials to any number of recycling centers. For areas that have curbside greenery collection, the cans can be used for storing and setting out yard waste for collection.

Also consider using the cans to hold dog food, mulch or fertilizer. They can even be converted into compost "bins" or donated to charitable organizations for use in Tijuana or other areas that do not have automated refuse collection.